Events and meetings in 2018/19:

Please note that members may bring a friend to the Annual General Meeting talk, but for other events any accompanying friend(s) will be invited to make a donation of £5 to the Friends.


Tuesday 26 February 2019

A Talk by Dr Paul Barnaby (Acquisition and Scottish Literary Collections Curator)

John Buchan and the First World War: As Seen through the Thomas Nelson Archive

Time: 15:00

Venue: 6th Floor Research Suite, Main Library, George Square, Edinburgh


Even by his own extraordinary standards, John Buchan was prodigiously active during the First World War.  He authored an ongoing History of the War (published in 24 parts between 1915 and 1919), edited the War Monthly magazine, and worked as Western Front correspondent for The Times and Daily News.  His journalistic and propaganda work eventually led to a commission in the Intelligence Corps (1916) and the Directorship of the newly founded Department of information (1917). Meanwhile, he continued to work as partner and literary adviser for Thomas Nelson Publishers and somehow found time to write four of his most popular novels, including The Thirty-Nine Steps and Greenmantle.

This talk will draw on the Archive of Thomas Nelson Publishers, held by Edinburgh University Library, to illustrate his multi-faceted war work.

Dr Paul Barnaby is Acquisition and Scottish Literary Collections Curator at the University.  Additionally, he maintains the Walter Scott Digital Archive.  Dr Barnaby also worked as main researcher for the Bibliography of Scottish Literature in Translation (BOSLIT) at the National Library of Scotland, and as Post-Doctoral Research Fellow for the Reception of British and Irish Authors in Europe project at the University of London.

Please sign up for this event by contacting Alason Roberts at, or c/o Main Library, George Square, EH8 9LJ.



Venue: Main Library Exhibition Gallery, George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LJ

An exhibition of things you wouldn’t expect to find in Rare Books.  We have some unlikely-sounding things in the collections: comics; ephemeral-looking pamphlets; cheaply-printed books; things which are not that old and appear run-of-the-mill; things which aren’t even books. They are all here for a reason…

Free admission. 30 November 2018 – 2 March 2019. Open Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm


Tuesday 9 April 2019

A talk by Peter Freshwater (Honorary Secretary of the Friends of EUL)

Victorian Publishers’ Bindings: Collecting, Cataloguing and Curating

Time: 15:00

Venue: 6th Floor Research Seminar Room, Main Library


Publishers’ – or edition – binding was introduced to the book trade in the early 1820s and was originally done by hand. Technology soon developed so that books were bound as well as printed by machine, and the bindings could be designed and elaborately decorated to make them more marketable, and the practice continued until rising costs saw the designed cover largely replaced by dustjackets in the early 1900s. Publishers’ bindings are essential elements in the study of book history, economic and social history, and the history of applied arts and design.  The creation and maintenance of a collection of publishers’ bindings has implications for traditional library practices of curating, cataloguing and access in order to facilitate its study.

Peter Freshwater, some time Deputy University Librarian, has collected publishers’ bindings for over 50 years, having fallen in love with them as a postgraduate librarianship student at UCL where his bibliography tutor was Howard Nixon, Deputy Keeper and Head of Rare Book Collections in the BM Library, and the then British doyen of bookbinding history. Some of Peter’s collection have become the Freshwater Collection in EUL, part of the Library’s growing Bindings Collection.

Please sign up for this event by contacting Alason Roberts at, or c/o Main Library, George Square, EH8 9LJ.


Further events in the 2018/19 season will be announced soon



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Except where indicated, all images were created by the Digital Imaging Unit, Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Library and are © The University of Edinburgh.