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Collections for Publishing History
Chapbooks are pamphlets containing ballads, fairy tales and tracts, which were printed in the 18th and 19th centuries and sold by travelling pedlars. They were cheaply produced and were aimed at ordinary people, and so the quality is generally not high. The Library's collection features chapbooks printed in Scotland between 1790-1890. Many were printed in Stirling or Falkirk, but we also have examples from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Paisley, Airdrie and Fintray. Local chapbook printers include Charles Randall, Mary Randall and William Macnie.
Our collection contains early editions of Charles Dickens works, including several novels as originally issued in serial form.
The Stirling Tract Enterprise was founded by Peter Drummond, a Stirling seed merchant, in 1848. Drummond, a very religious man, was shocked that people were being ferried across the River Forth to Cambuskenneth to visit the abbey and public houses on Sundays. He published a tract, The Sabbath, and distributed 10,000 copies, and followed that with another 200,000 copies in the following months. He subsequently published several new tracts; by 1852 he devoted himself to tract publishing full time. The tracts were distributed free, although distributors were charged (these included clergy, missionaries, preachers, Sunday Schools). Donations covered the publishing costs. Most of the tracts were printed by the Stirling Observer Press. The Enterprise also started publishing books and magazines. By 1872, around 60 million tracts had been published.
Contents: Publications of the Stirling Tract Enterprise and the Drummond Press, including tracts, magazines and books
The Leighton Library in Dunblane is founded on the personal library of Archbishop Robert Leighton (1611-1684). Robert Leighton lived through one of the most turbulent periods in Scottish history. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister, yet took up the office of Bishop of Dunblane in the restored Episcopal Church, in an attempt to reconcile Presbyterians and Episcopalians in a united Church of Scotland. Aware that he might be accused of seeking self-aggrandisement, he accepted a post in Dunblane, the smallest and poorest see in the country. He was later installed as Archbishop of Glasgow, though he failed to bring about the reconciliation in church affairs which he so desired.
Contents: The collection dates from the 16th century to the 19th century and covers a variety of subject areas, including history and politics (particularly 17th century), theology, medicine, travel, language and the occult. There is also much to interest the book historian.
Eneas Mackay was a publisher and bookseller in Stirling from the late 19th century until the mid 20th century. Originally a stationer and newsagent, he had premises on Murray Place in Stirling. He published many works of local and Scottish interest, including a number of Gaelic language publications. In 1925 Jamieson and Munro acquired Mackay’s business, but kept that branch of the business trading under the old name. When John Munro retired from the Stirling Observer Press in 1941, he was succeeded by Eneas Mackay.
Contents: books published by Eneas Mackay
Mitchell Penguin Collection
An almost complete set of Penguin books published before 1961, also some Penguin books published in the 1960s
Victorian Illustrated Books
The Library has an interesting collection of Victorian illustrated books. When Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, book illustrations were mostly created using wood block and copper plate. Hand finished colour printing arrived in the 1840s. By 1890, photographic processes such as photolithography and photogravure had replaced block printing. Decorative bindings were also popular.
The Victorians published a great many books on natural history, and there are several splendid illustrated books on flowers, birds, butterflies and sea life in our collections.