The 350 volumes in the Collection, mostly of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, are mainly theological in content. They emanate not just from Britain, but many come from continental European presses, with editions of Calvin, Bèze, Knox and Zanchius. Samuel Rutherford is also well represented. The volumes also throw light on the social, political and academic debates of the time, with rare seventeenth-century texts (academic theses) of Andrew Aidie (later Principal of Marischal College), and Thomas Reid, (later Latin Secretary to James VI and I), as well as other Aberdeen scholars, including Gilbert Burnet, Arthur Johnstone, William Lauder, Matthew Mackaile, and John Row.

Keywords: Theology; philosophy; history; Church Fathers; Reformation.

Strengths: Theology as expected figures largely in this Collection with a good representative example of material favoured by literary readers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, much of it in Latin, and with much of the volumes printed abroad.

Languages:Latin, English, French

Identifier: BK

Physical characteristics: c. 350 volumes

Accumulation date range: 1650-1890?

Contents date range: 1510-1802

Associated Publications: Anderson-Smith, Myrtle, 'The Bibliotheck of Kirkwall', Northern Scotland 15 (1995), 127-134. Craven, J. B., Descriptive Catalogue of the Bibliotheck of Kirkwall 1683, with a notice of the founder, William Baikie, M.A., of Holland (Kirkwall:, 1897). Kaufman, Paul, 'Discovering the Oldest Publick Bibliotheck in the Northern Isles', Library Review 23, no. 7 (1972), 285-7. Tinch, David M. N. (ed.), The Orkney Library 1683-1983: A Short History (Kirkwall: Kirkwall Press, 1983). AU MS 1087: The Kirkwall Bibliotheck, 1638-1891, with related material. Available on Library OPAC or WebPAC

Accrual Status: Closed

Custodial history/provenance: Shortly before his death in 1683, William Baikie, (MA, University of Edinburgh, 1657), proprietor of the estate of Holland on Stronsay, Orkney, bequeathed his books and manuscripts to the minister of Kirkwall, and his successors, 'for a Publick Liberarie to be keeped within the town'. Many rare volumes of a religious nature were added by James Wallace (MA, King's college, 1659), who was a minister of St. Magnus Cathedral. At first the Kirk Session held the Bibliotheck as a Presbytery Library in St Magnus Cathedral where it continued to attract donations from both church and laymen. By 1740 it had been moved to the assembly room of the Tolbooth. The Collection was then incorporated into the Orkney Subscription Library in 1815, but, on the adoption of the Free Libraries Act by the Burgh of Kirkwall in 1890, the books were offered for public auction. They were bought up by Archdeacon James B. Craven of Orkney, who produced a catalogue of them, and gave the volumes to Aberdeen University Library in 1914.

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