Browse through our rare books
The Library collection is rich and varied one, with books from the 16th and 17th centuries to the present day. With subjects as varied as witchcraft, animals, farming and medicine, books about European history and a 17th century atlas, and the unique opportunity to actually hold and read the historic volumes, make this a bibliophile's paradise with something for everyone to discover.
The Scottish Collection
In 2013 the Library’s holdings were significantly enriched when it began to receive the unprecedented donation of the collection of rare early Scottish books and documents assembled by the American bibliophile Janet Burns St. Germain. This includes an incunable (the 1476 edition of the works of Duns Scotus), the Works of James VI & I (1616), a first edition copy of John Knox’s Historie of the Reformation (1644), a number of David Hume first editions and a first edition of Samuel Johnson’s Journey to the Western Isles (1775), a holograph Burns poem and various early editions of his Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1787-88), together with a range of other early printed, eighteenth and nineteenth century first editions relating to Scottish history and culture.
Many of the early books from the Founders' original library of around 400 volumes reveal him to be a man of wide interests including history, law, politics, gardening, and the pursuits of a gentlemen such as honour and hunting, as well as, of course, religious contemplation and discussion. The early books include treasures such as:
Poisson, Pierre Belon , Paris 1555
Cosmographie, by Sebastian Munster 1575
Chronicles, Raphael Holinshed, London 1577
Henry VIII Great Bible, 1539
La Bible, Sedan 1633 Belonging to James Graham, First Marquis of
When Archbishop Robert Hay Drummond commissioned the present Library building in the 18th century he added a considerable new collection from the new books available at the time. A note of 'books proposed to be bought into the Library at Innerpeffray, as occasion offers' from May 1744 shows that care was taken to acquire the latest and the best in subjects such as 'Divinity, Classicks, History' and a footnote adds: 'a list of Mathematical books to be got from some Professor'.
Visitors are welcome to view any of the books in the collection when they visit. Advance notice is not required, but it is helpful to know beforehand if you wish to look at specific books, or subjects as occasionally books are on loan to other museums or being repaired and therefore not available.
Please contact the Keeper by email, phone or post.
informative - living
history. Thank you.
Vic & Yvonne Ludkin,
Meryvn Hagger, US