The Library of the Reverend James Nairn (1629-1678): Scholarly Book Collecting in Restoration Scotland
Simpson, Murray C T
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This thesis investigates the library formed by a Scottish clergyman, James Bairn (1629-1678), and bequeathed by him to Edinburgh University Library. Comprising over nineteen hundred items in some eighteen hundred and forty volumes, it was one of the largest Scottish libraries of the day, and the variety of the contents, make it an important source for the examination of the scholarly interests of Scots in the Restoration period. Contemporary libraries formed by eight other Scottish clergymen are also studied in detail, to give added depth. These eight are: Robert Leighton (1611-1684), Bishop of Dunblane and Archbishop of Glasgow; Patrick Scougal (1607?-1682), Bishop of Aberdeen, and his son Henry Scougal (1650- 1678) Professor of Divinity at King's College, Aberdeen; William Woore (c.1640-1684), Archdeacon of St Andrews; Villiarn Annand (1633-1689) Dean of Edinburgh; James Wemyss (c.1630-16961, Principal of St Leonard's College, St Andrews; and two other parish ministers, Jams Lundie (c.1646- 1696) of Edinburgh and John Gray (1646-1717) of Aberlady. The acquisitions of several other Scottish contemporary libraries, public and private, are also discussed when apposite. An analysis of these libraries,subject by subject, with Bairn's library its corner-stone, comprises part two of this thesis (chapters four to seven). The first part begins with a chapter outlining the nature and extent of the sources available for study and the various interrelated aims of the thesis. Chapter two is a biography of James Nairn. Nairn exemplified important traits within the episcopal church in Scotland as well as being and Bishop of Salisbury. This chapter ends with an examination of the an important influence on the young Gilbert Burnet, statesman, historian book purchasing power of Nairn and his clerical colleagues in theory and practice, which serves as an introduction to chapter three, an investigation of tastes and techniques in book collecting in later seventeenth-century Scotland. Bairn's library is used here as a casestudy to discover patterns in imprints and languages found in a later seventeenth-century Scottish learned library. In cumulo, the contents of Bairn's library and those of his contemporaries cast new light on the intellectual preoccupations of Scots in the highly important period immediately before the Enlightenaent. and Bishop of Salisbury.