A sumptuously illustrated book featuring 50 of the most important and beautiful items from the University Library’s Special Collections.
The University of St Andrews was only the third to be founded in the English-speaking world. From its early 15th-century beginnings, the University has used and collected books in pursuit of learning and teaching. In the early days these books were concentrated in autonomous college libraries, but with the foundation of a Common Library for the University in the 17th century there came into being a repository which has functioned continuously for four centuries. The collections which have gathered within St Andrews University Library are outstanding. Books from the dawn of European printing to contemporary fine imprints, including the fruits of over a century’s status as a Legal Deposit Library; manuscripts representing the breadth of human activity from the dawn of Christendom to modern times; an astonishing photographic archive, based on St Andrew’s position as one of the crucibles of early photographic development, which now contains almost 750,000 images taken in Scotland and across the globe between 1840 and the present day; and the University’s own institutional archive, a living collection which documents the rich life of the institution from its foundation. This volume presents 50 selected items from across the collections, each accompanied by a short explanatory essay by an expert in the field. It also features an introductory essay outlining the history of the Library from its beginnings in a few medieval cathedral book presses to the modern hub of learning within an institution of international academic reputation.