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52 Weeks of Historical How-To’s, Week 4: The Complete Servant

Many items which appear in our blogs are visually stunning. The focus of this blog, The Complete Servant, by Samuel and Sarah Adams, is certainly not this. Acquired by the Library between 1826 and 1864, it has a non-descript paper cover (the original wrappers in which it was issued), and its pages are uncut and…

21 November 2013How-To's Muniments Collection Rare Book Collection Uncategorized

52 Weeks of Historical How-To’s, Week 3: Talbot’s Photogenic Drawing in The Pencil of Nature

From well before the time when William Henry Fox Talbot ventured into the realm of photographic experiments, the effects of silver nitrate, salts and light were known to several men of science. We credit Talbot with the invention of the photographic negative because it was his experiments which spurred a long line of successive developments…

14 November 2013Archives How-To's Photographic Collection Rare Book Collection

52 Weeks of Historical How-To’s, Week 2: Mrs Edwards’s cook book

We bought this recipe book at auction recently, and it arrived with no provenance information. However, from the names and places mentioned, I have worked out that it belonged to Mrs Elizabeth Edwards, wife of George Edwards of Henlow Warden in Bedfordshire. The family tree includes several relatives’ names who contributed recipes – Cousin Talman,…

7 November 2013Archives How-To's Manuscript Collection

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 48: the Trajectory of the Photographic Medium

Over the past year staff from the Special Collections Division have been putting together posts highlighting ‘Inspiring Illustrations’ of material in our collections. Representing the Photographic Collection, I chose to conduct a survey of photographic media in order to underline the unique characteristics of individual photographic processes and plant the seed of interest for further…

17 June 2013illustrations Photographic Collection professional commentary

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 47: the Gillespie and Scott architectural archive

Amongst our holdings is the extensive archive of Gillespie and Scott, a firm of local architects active in St Andrews since 1876. The founding partner, James Gillespie, died in 1914, and the business was carried on by his partner James Scott (d. 1944) and Scott’s sons and grandsons.  In 1994 the practice was purchased by…

10 June 2013Archives illustrations

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 44: the Family Album

This Inspiring Illustration post on photography is inspired by a wonderful acquisition added to our Photographic Collection this week of a Scottish family’s photographs from the 1920s. Deviating, from talking about a specific photographic process, this post is focused on a particular presentation format, the photo album. Although a certain degree of personal photography took…

22 April 2013illustrations Photographic Collection

April Fools: FORGERIES, FAKES AND FALSEHOODS

In this week of April Fools pranks (or ‘hunting the gowks’ here in Scotland), I’ve been investigating forgeries, fakes and falsehoods in our collections and have come up with five stories: a forged signature, a forged bank note, fake testimonials, a fake degree certificate and even a false identity! Read on – these are all…

3 April 2013Archives collections highlights

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 41: All is not as it seems…

For our ‘April Fool’ post, we decided not to attempt the creation of a spoof medieval manuscript or late 14th century Scottish printed book, tempting though it was…. Instead, we offer proof that the old adage that ‘the camera never lies’ is not, and never was, true, even before the days of digital wizardry. From…

1 April 2013illustrations Photographic Collection

David Hay Fleming and the Bronze Bowl

Whilst undertaking research for my MSc dissertation on David Hay Fleming (1849-1931) as a book collector, I came across some intriguing correspondence (msdep113/2/4) regarding a bronze bowl. Known not only for his works on Scottish history, but also as an antiquary, these letters highlight Hay Fleming’s passion for keeping locally found antiquities local. The bronze…

28 March 2013Archives collections highlights Conundrum

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 40: The Photographic Postcard

This week’s Inspiring Illustrations post about photography is on the topic of the somewhat less noble yet very prolific format of the postcard. As a result of two recent projects surrounding our collections my attention has been drawn to this important medium of dissemination for photography. Firstly a group of recent graduates from the University’s…

26 March 2013illustrations Photographic Collection