Giving a unique view of the output of the printing press since its establishment in the North of Scotland, the Special Books Local (SBL) Collection comprises books, pamphlets and journals printed in Aberdeen, from 1622 to 1800 inclusive. As such it includes the output of Aberdeen's first printer, Edward Raban (1579-1658), whose press was active between 1622 and 1649; the work of Francis Douglas (1719-1786); John Boyle (c. 1730-1794?), and the Chalmers family in the eighteenth century. The Collection represents the output largely of relatively small-scale printing establishments, set up to satisfy the demands of readers in Aberdeen and area for printed material. The books and pamphlets are largely on theological, philosophical, historical and civic matters.
Keywords: Theology; philosophy; history; politics; medicine; classical literature.
Strengths: The Collection reflects the early appearance and then steadily increasing presence and importance of print culture in Aberden and North-east Scotland.
Physical characteristics: c. 500 volumes
Accumulation date range: 1974-
Contents date range: 1622-1800
Associated Publications: Beavan, I., 'The Book Trade in Aberdeen and Area, 1700-1832', in Studies in the Provincial Book Trade of England, Scotland and Wales before 1900., ed. by D. Stoker (Aberystwyth: University of Wales, 1990), 54-75. Beavan, I., 'Raban and his Successors: Local Printing (1622-1800) held in Aberdeen University', Northern Scotland, 18 (1998), 97-104. Drummond, H. J. H., 'Aberdeen University Library Special Collections (Printed Books)', The Bibliotheck vols. 2/3 (1959-62), 35-40. Edmond, J. P., The Aberdeen Printers, Edward Raban to James Nicol, 1620-1736 (Aberdeen, Edmond & Spark, 1884). Edmond, J. P., Hand-list of Books Printed at Aberdeen or by Aberdeen Printers 1620-1736 (Aberdeen: Edmond, 1884). Edmond, J.P. Last Notes on the Aberdeen Printers (London: n.pub., 1888). Available on Library OPAC or WebPAC
Accrual Status: Active
Custodial history/provenance: As part of the establishment of the (then) Department of Special Collection and Archives, a named collection was formed, portraying the printing history of the City of Aberdeen from its inception in 1622 through until 1800. Previously, the various volumes had been spread through a number of the other collections. The Collection is now housed in the Special Collections Centre.
Access Control: Closed access - please request. Non-borrowable.