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Reading the Collections, Week 44: The Mackenzie Correspondence, 1685-1691

  I wonder yow writ not to mee. Like so many parents or guardians of young people at university, Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh was not impressed by his nephew Simon’s epistolary abilities, much less his money management.  A bundle of 37 letters – worn, torn, and dirty – from the Fraser-Mackenzie of Allangrange manuscripts…

14 January 2016Manuscript Collection Reading the Collections

Reading the Collections, Week 43: Mister Bannock by Edgar Primrose Dickie

To begin the New Year in this week’s Reading the Collections blog we take a look at the amusing children’s stories by Edgar Primrose Dickie (1897–1991); a man who had a fascinating career.  Edgar Dickie served in both world wars and received the Military Cross for his service with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers in…

8 January 2016Manuscript Collection Reading the Collections

Reading the Collections, Week 42: A Christmas Carol

My earliest exposure to this seminal work of Dickens was a film adaptation notable for being performed by a cast of singing muppets. Since then I’ve seen straight adaptations, parodies, and films with the same DNA. Which is to say that A Christmas Carol falls in to the category of popular pre-20th century fiction (along…

24 December 2015Rare Book Collection Reading the Collections

Reading the Collections, Week 41: The Nutcracker – a story for Christmas

Whilst browsing the shelves one day, I noticed a book by Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) – The Nutcracker. I was immediately intrigued, as I (perhaps foolishly) hadn’t realised that this tale was originally in book form. I was only familiar with Tchaikovsky’s ballet (and then only to the extent that it involved a nutcracker, and had…

18 December 2015Rare Book Collection Reading the Collections

Reading the Collections, Week 40: Tullis Russell Oral History Collection

Over the past few weeks there’s been a series of letters to the London Review of Books discussing the phenomenon of ‘cross generational vaulting’ – anecdotes passed down through generations that make the past seem unexpectedly immediate and familiar. Working in Special Collections, I come in to contact with lots of original historical materials which…

10 December 2015Manuscript Collection new acquisitions Reading the Collections

Reading the Collections, Week 39: Rejlander’s ‘The two ways of life’ (c. 1857)

I must’ve been 14 or 15 when my parents brought home a piece of software that would literally change their professional lives and would become an everyday tool of my working life. When my parents installed Adobe Photoshop 3.0 on our home PC, it evolved from the way to search the nascent internet or to…

3 December 2015new acquisitions Photographic Collection Reading the Collections

Reading the Collections, Week 38: Precognition Statements, Receipts, and the Making of ‘St Andrews – In The Footsteps of Old Tom Morris’

This week we have a guest post by Roger McStravick, a golf history writer specialising in St Andrews, Old Tom Morris and legends from the 1800s to 1920. He made use of material held in Special Collections while researching his new book ‘St Andrews: In the Footsteps of Old Tom Morris’. I think it’s fair…

26 November 2015Lawrence Levy Photographic Golf Collection Manuscript Collection Photographic Collection Reading the Collections

Reading the Collections, Week 37: Journal of Alexander Gillespie, 1662-85

The re-discovery of the sailing journal of Skipper Alexander Gillespie ms38352, who sailed out of Elie in Fife in the mid-17th century, made the news in 2002. At that time Dr Paula Martin had just completed her transcription of the journal. It was hailed as evidence of Fifers being at the forefront of Scottish trade…

19 November 2015Manuscript Collection Reading the Collections

Reading the Collections, Week 36: The Govan Album

Alexander Govan was a chemist and druggist in St Andrews during the 1840s and 1850s. With the new art of photography then in its infancy, he supplied chemicals to the early practitioners and, as a member of this tight knit community, he was given many prints which are displayed in this wonderful and historically important…

11 November 2015Photographic Collection Reading the Collections

Reading the Collections, Week 35: Douglas Dunn’s Elegies notebooks

Douglas Dunn published Elegies in 1985 – a collection of 39 poems written after the death of his first wife, Lesley Balfour Dunn, who died in 1981, aged 37, from melanoma of the eye. It was awarded the Whitbread Book of the Year prize. Dunn and Lesley were living in Hull at the time, where…

4 November 2015Manuscript Collection Reading the Collections