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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 31: The Lawrence Levy Collection

In the 1980s there was precious little golf on the TV in the UK. There was no internet and the newspapers were, with the exception of Today, black and white only. If golf was your passion then the only way to capture the essence of the professional game on a regular basis was through the…

18 September 2015Lawrence Levy Photographic Golf Collection Photographic Collection Reading the Collections

Reading the Collections, Week 29: Brontë Book Covers

For this post we will take a look at some of the different bindings and covers of Wuthering Heights in our collections. Some of these covers, pictured above, may look uninspiring at first but they can show how publishing and book buying has changed over time. Although we will briefly consider some titles from the…

27 August 2015Rare Book Collection Reading the Collections

Contemporary Calotypists visit Special Collections to View Early Calotypes and Photographic Prints

This past week, Special Collections helped host the bi-annual meeting of The Calotype Society, a modern day take on the original photographic exchange circles that sprung up here in Scotland during the early days of photography. As part of this meeting the group of calotypists were given a brief peek at some of the early…

13 August 2015Uncategorised

Reading the Collections, Week 27: University Calendars and the office of Bedellus

At the end of July, John Jardine, University Bedellus, retired after 29 years’ service with the University. In that role as mace-bearer, almost the personification of the corporate identity of the institution, John was one of the key figures in University ceremonies in this most traditional of institutions. He was the University officer who placed…

6 August 2015Muniments Collection Reading the Collections

Lighting the Past completes the Shewan Collection

Of all the collections to be catalogued by the Phase 1 team, the Shewan Collection will probably be the only one where every item has passed through my hands as lead cataloguer. As this is something which rarely happens, I found this rather exciting! Donated to the Library in 1936 by Dr Alexander Shewan (1851-1941),…

8 June 2015Rare Book Collection

How many ways can you view the solar eclipse?

At 9:30 this morning, several of the special collections team took an early morning break, found a sunny patch of grass and experienced the solar eclipse; which reached about 95% of maximum in St Andrews. We had great viewing with only a few, wispy clouds in the sky; thankfully none of these were near the…

20 March 2015general information

Reading the Collections, Week 6: Insight into the 19th Century Mind

The St Andrews Literary and Philosophical Society was founded in 1838; it was no coincidence that Sir David Brewster was appointed Principal of the United College here in that year. A leading physicist and inventor, Brewster is recognised as a key figure in the popularisation of science in the mid 19th Century. The ‘Lit and Phil…

12 March 2015Muniments Collection Reading the Collections

Lighting the Past: The Lang Collection

We’re back again, finishing our sixth collection to date: the Lang Collection! After a year-and-a-half of adventuring through the General Reserve Collection (you can read about some of the highlights in our two-part blog), this one was over almost before it began – the tiny collection of uncatalogued Lang books took the Lighting the Past…

9 February 2015Rare Book Collection

52 Weeks of Historical How-To’s, Week 52: A Special Scrapbook and Commonplace Book

We’ve sadly come to the end of our year long exploration of our collections. We’ve had tremendous fun getting to know obscure corners of our photographs, manuscripts, rare books and muniments better. Next week we’ll round up the year’s work, examine what we’ve learnt and what the future may hold. But there’s one last project…

30 October 2014Archives How-To's Manuscript Collection