The predominant themes within this Collection are twentieth-century printing practices and typographical design. There are specimen type books from leading companies, including the Caslon Letter Foundry, Linotype & Machinery Ltd, and Stephenson, Blake & Co. The best and most innovative book designs of the time were portrayed in the Catalogue of an Exhibition of Twentieth-Century Scottish Books, organised by the Festival of Britain; in several publications (1947-1953) of the National Book League, and, from the 1920s, reports from competitions held by the Royal Society of Arts.
Keywords: Book design, publishing
Strengths: A number of useful printing or publishing house histories are present in the Collection, such as Longmans, Swan Sonnenschein, Allen & Unwin, and Batsford, with which latter company AUP had a good and lasting business relationship. There are also some older, locally printed texts, including two from the seventeenth-century press of Edward Raban, the first printer in Aberdeen. A number of relative rarities are featured, as with The Adventures of Madiboo, a Native of the Pellew Islands, published in London, but printed by Cobban & Co in Aberdeen in 1828. The Collection also contains a number of examples of twentieth-century fine printing, as with the seven volume Works of Shakespeare, Nonesuch Press (1929-33); Francis Coventry's The History of Pompey the Little (1926) and Sterne's Sentimental Journey (1928). Both the latter came from the Golden Cockerel Press. There is also a copy of the limited edition of The Thousand and One Nights (c.1921) from the Palmer Press.
Physical characteristics: c. 290 titles.
Accumulation date range: to 1990s.
Contents date range: 1664-1983
Associated Publications: Beavan, I., 'Aberdeen University Press and the Scottish Typographical Association: an Uneasy Early Relationship,' in Images & texts: their Production and Distribution in the 18th and 19th centuries, (eds.) Peter Isaac & Barry McKay (Winchester: St Paul's Bibliographies, 1997), 143-162. Keith, Alexander, Aberdeen University Press: an Account of the Press from...1840 until...1963 (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press,1963). Watt, H. M. R., AUP: the Aberdeen University Press printed archive, 1840-1978: a Check List with Introduction and Commentary, (ed.) I. Beavan (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Library, (1994)). AU MS 3233 Records of Aberdeen University Press, with related material, 1866-1977. Available on Library OPAC or WebPAC
Accrual Status: Closed
Custodial history/provenance: The Collection was donated by Dr H. M. R. Watt, sometime Managing Director of Aberdeen University Press. The business records of AUP (AU MS 3233) were deposited in 1986; whilst a complementary printed archive was deposited in 1989.
Access Control: Closed access - please request. Non-borrowable.