Monday, July 26, 2010

National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland holds 14 million books and manuscripts, 2 million maps, 30,000 music scores, 32,000 films and videos, and 25,000 newspaper and magazine titles. There are 6,000 items received every week. The library grew out of the Library of the Faculty of Advocates. The Advocates of the Library was established in 1689. The Advocate Library was granted the right to claim a copy of every book published in the British Isles under the 1710 Copyright Act. Sir Alexander Grant of Forres donated to help build the George IV building, which is where the library is currently located. In 1956, the George IV building was opened by Queen Elizabeth II. The building has a total of 15 floors. However, this wasn't enough to hold the massive collection and a new building, the Causeway, was added in 1995.

Our tour included the John McMurray Archive, which is located in the George IV building. John McMurray first set up shop in 1768 on Fleet St. He was a native of Edinburgh. Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Lord Byron are a few of many authors he published. In 2002, John Murray VII offered the archive to the NLS. The archive includes information and artifacts from Walter Scott, Lord Byron, and Jane Austen. Scott and Murray founded the Quarterly Review. One of Scott's accomplishments was inventing the historical novel. His motto, "I shall be safe when enclosed", was placed inside his books. Lord Byron invented the "Byronic" hero, because of his exotic life of fashion and adventure. He loved the mysterious and was a swordsman and fighter. Jane Austen, unlike both men, had to publish her works anonymously. Her brother and father supported her writings, and her sister, Cassandra, was her closest friend. Murray published the 1st edition of Emma in 1815 and the 2nd edition of Mansfield Park in 1816.

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