A chronological Collection comprising some 7220 volumes, including the libraries of individual benefactors and of institutions, such as the Common Library of New Aberdeen. Many of the early alumni of King’s and Marischal Colleges travelled widely, frequently to continue their education on the Continent. Amongst these aspiring students, later to become benefactors to the libraries of the Colleges, were Duncan Liddell, Thomas Reid, the Latin Secretary to James VI and I, and his brother, Alexander. The University (specifically King's College) had the right of legal deposit from 1710 to 1836, and most of the books claimed under this privilege are housed in the SB or pi Collections.

Keywords: Theology; humanism; classical literature; science (Renaissance); medicine (Renaissance).

Strengths: Rich in editions of the classics and works on theology. Greek editions of Aesop (Basle, 1550), Aeschylus (Venice, 1518) and Euclid (Basle, 1533), along with many early editions of the Church fathers came to Marischal College through the bequest of Secretary Thomas Reid. The most important section, however, is undoubtedly that containing early scientific and medical works. Pre-eminent are two copies each of the first two editions of Copernicus' De Revolutionibus (1543, 1566). Duncan Liddell's copy of the 1566 edition contains (in his hand) the beginning of the Commentariolus of Copernicus. Liddell was one of Marischal College's major seventeenth-century benefactors. The copy of Harvey's Exercitatio anatomico de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus (Frankfurt, 1628) came as part of the benefaction of Alexander Reid (?-1641), surgeon and lecturer in anatomy.

Languages:Latin, Greek, English, Italian, French, German

Identifier: pi

Physical characteristics: c. 7220 volumes.

Accumulation date range: 1501-

Contents date range: 1501-1780. Books printed on the Continent 1501-1600. Books printed in England 1501-1641. Books printed in Scotland up to 1781

Associated Publications: The central reference works are: Drummond, H. J. H, A Short-title Catalogue of Books Printed on the Continent of Europe 1501-1600 in Aberdeen University Library (Oxford: O.U.P., 1979); Wightman, W. P. D., Science and the Renaissance, vol. 2: An Annotated Bibliography of the Sixteenth-century Books Relating to the Sciences in The Library of the University of Aberdeen (Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1962). Beavan, I, 'Marischal College, Aberdeen, and its Earliest Library Catalogue: a Reassessment', Bibliotheck, 22 (1997), 4-19. Beavan, I, '''The Best Library that Ever the North Pairtes of Scottland Saw": Thomas Reid (Latin Secretary to James VI) and his Books, in The Reach of Print: Making, Selling and Using Books, (eds.) Peter Isaac & Barry McKay (New Castle: Oak Knoll, 1998), 205-20. Cusick, F., 'Early Botanical Books in Aberdeen University Library', Aberdeen University Review, 47(1977-8), 121-32. Dobrzycki, Jerzy, 'The Aberdeen Copy of Copernicus's Commentariolus', Journal of the History of Astronomy, 4 (1973), 124-7. Macfarlane, Leslie J., 'William Elphinstone's Library', Aberdeen University Review, 37 (1957-58), 253-71. Macfarlane, Leslie, J. 'William Elphinstone's Library Re-visited' in The Renaissance in Scotland: Studies in Literature, Religion, History and Culture offered to John Durkan, ed. by A. A. Macdonald, M. Lynch & I. B. Cowan (Leiden: Brill, 1994), 66-81. Mitchell, W. S. German Bindings in Aberdeen University Library: Iconographic Index and Indices of Initials, Binders and Dates . (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Mitchell, 1961); Molland, A. G., 'Duncan Liddell (1561-1613): an Early Benefactor of Marischal College Library', Aberdeen University Review, 51(1985-86), 485-99. Molland, A. G., 'Scottish-continental Intellectual Relations as Mirrored in the Career of Duncan Liddell, 1561-1613,' in The Universities of Aberdeen and Europe: the First Three Centuries, ed. P. Dukes (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1995). 79-101. Available on Library OPAC or WebPAC

Accrual Status: Highly selective

Custodial history/provenance: Prominent among those who gifted or bequeathed books held in the pi collection are Duncan Liddell (1561-1613), Professor of Mathematics and later of Medicine at Helmstadt, and Thomas Reid, college teacher and later Latin Secretary to James VI. These benefactions were made to the Library of Marischal College in the early part of the seventeenth century.

Access Control: Closed access - please request. Non-borrowable.