Features

12 key Scottish plays 1970-2010

12 key Scottish plays 1970-2010

Introducing 12 of the major plays and major playwrights of Scotland. See images from theatre productions and related archive material.

A guid cause

A guid cause

The history of the women's suffrage movement in Scotland, with photographs, newspaper reports, diary entries and other sources. Activities for secondary schools. Includes downloadable PDFs.

A Scots buik on the plague

A Scots buik on the plague

Scotland's first printed medical book (1568), written in Scots. Learn the history of the plague in Scotland. Downloadable learning activities.

The Aberdeen Breviary

The Aberdeen Breviary

See the Latin church service book that was the reason printing was introduced to Scotland. Printed in Edinburgh in 1510.

Advocates Library catalogues

Advocates Library catalogues

Volumes spanning over 200 years detailing mostly printed items, with some manuscripts, held by the Advocates Library.

An Comunn Gàidhealach

An Comunn Gàidhealach

Items from 1891 onwards published by An Comunn Gàidhealach, which organises the annual Royal National Mòd.

Antiquarian Books of Scotland

Antiquarian Books of Scotland

Books published after 1640, with a broad range of subjects and languages represented.

The Auchinleck Manuscript

The Auchinleck Manuscript

Middle English language and literature as Chaucer would have known it, contained in this rare document, with a full transcription.

The Bartholomew Archive

The Bartholomew Archive

Read about the remarkable record of mapmaking and printing by the world-famous Bartholomew firm in Edinburgh from 1820 to 2002.

Bibliotheca Lindesiana catalogues

Bibliotheca Lindesiana catalogues

Catalogues printed between 1877 and 1913 recording the special collections of the family library of the Earls of Crawford and Balcarres.

Biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen

Biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen

Biographies of famous Scotsmen and some women, mostly of the 16th to the 19th centuries. Over 30 engraved portraits.

The Blaeu Atlas

The Blaeu Atlas

The first Atlas of Scotland, printed in 1654, containing 49 engraved maps, and 154 pages of descriptive text translated from Latin.

Blighty and Sea Pie

Blighty and Sea Pie

Editions of two magazines published for Britain's fighting forces between 1917 and 1919, with pictures, stories, poems and humour.

British military lists

British military lists

Details of officers who served in the British Army, Navy and Air Force in the First and Second World Wars.

Chalmers' 'Caledonia'

Chalmers' 'Caledonia'

Five volumes about the counties of Scotland, published in 1887. Includes parish histories and a dictionary of places.

Chapbooks printed in Scotland

Chapbooks printed in Scotland

Small cheap booklets sold on Scotland's streets were essential reading material for the masses in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Churchill: The evidence

Churchill: The evidence

The life and times of Winston Churchill, MP for Dundee before he became a wartime Prime Minister. Features schools resources.

Early Gaelic book collections

Early Gaelic book collections

Several hundred books in Gaelic and other Celtic languages, plus works about the Gaels, their languages, literature, culture and history

Edinburgh characters by J Jenkins

Edinburgh characters by J Jenkins

Edinburgh celebrities and unknown characters in coloured caricatures produced by J Jenkins between 1799 and 1805.

English ballads

English ballads

Browse over 2,300 broadside ballads, mostly from 19th-century England, with subjects ranging from courtship, occupations and emigration to patriotism and wars.

Experiences of the Great War

Experiences of the Great War

The First World War experiences of four very different people — the General, the Nurse, the Soldier, and the Conscientious Objector.

First Scottish books

First Scottish books

See online, page by page, 'The Chepman and Myllar Prints' — nine of the earliest books printed in Scotland, in or around 1508.

First World War official photographs

First World War official photographs

Black-and-white photographs mainly of the Western Front during the First World War. From the papers of Field Marshal (Earl) Haig.

Gaelic Bards of Keppoch

Gaelic Bards of Keppoch

Songs written by Gaelic bards Iain Lom and Sìleas na Ceapaich. Available in Gaelic and English. Downloadable PDFs for teachers.

Gazetteers of Scotland, 1803-1901

Gazetteers of Scotland, 1803-1901

Browse and search 20 volumes of the most popular descriptive gazetteers of 19th-century Scotland, covering towns, counties, parishes, glens and more.

Genealogical collections concerning families in Scotland 1750-1751

Genealogical collections concerning families in Scotland 1750-1751

Volume one of Walter Macfarlane's collection of genealogies of ancient Scottish families, compiled around 1750.

Getting started with Shakespeare

Getting started with Shakespeare

Resources to help school pupils understand some of Shakespeare's works by exploring scenes and characters or writing sonnets.

Golf in Scotland 1457-1744

Golf in Scotland 1457-1744

Take a swing through golf's early history. Key documents, including the first 'rules' of the game, show how golf developed in Scotland.

Gospel of St Matthew adapted for the blind

Gospel of St Matthew adapted for the blind

A 19th-century edition of a book of the Bible with the text embossed for blind people to feel.

The Gutenberg Bible

The Gutenberg Bible

Read our rare copy of the first book in Europe to be printed with moveable type. Johannes Gutenberg printed it in Germany around 1455.

Histories of Scottish families

Histories of Scottish families

Clan histories, memoirs and histories of Scottish families, mostly published in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Hutton drawings

Hutton drawings

Documents and drawings of Scottish castles, landscapes, churches and other religious buildings, collected by George Henry Hutton.

Iolaire

Iolaire

Learn about the sinking of HMY Iolaire on 1 January 1919 through Library items and contributions from the Isle of Lewis.

Isabella Bird’s travel photographs

Isabella Bird’s travel photographs

Adventurous Victorian travel writer Isabella Bird took photographs as she journeyed in the Far East, Persia and Morocco.

Jacobite prints and broadsides

Jacobite prints and broadsides

Portraits of people and illustrations of events relating to the Jacobite Rebellions in Scotland in 1715 and 1745-1746.

James VI and the Union of the Crowns

James VI and the Union of the Crowns

A look at the union of the Scottish and English crowns in 1603, and the monarch who wanted to lead a peaceful, united Britain.

Ladies' Edinburgh Debating Society publications

Ladies' Edinburgh Debating Society publications

Magazines representing a key moment in Scottish women's history. Published between 1865 and 1880, with general interest articles, fiction and poetry.

The last letter of Mary Queen of Scots

The last letter of Mary Queen of Scots

Read, in English and French, the last letter by Scotland's 16th-century queen, written only hours before her execution in Fotheringhay Castle.

Lifting the lid

Lifting the lid

Explore Scotland’s natural larder, from the 17th century to the 21st, using items from our collections. Downloadable PDFs for teachers.

Map images

Map images

Further your family, local history or school project using this collection of thousands of zoomable maps of Scotland and beyond.

Mapping history

Mapping history

An interactive guide to reading historical maps and using them to learn more about your area. Downloadable PDFs for teachers.

Marjory Fleming

Marjory Fleming

Read the diary, letters and poems of Marjory Fleming, adored in Victorian times, who died aged 8 in 1811.

Medical history of British India

Medical history of British India

Search 426 volumes of rare official documents recording disease prevention and public health in India in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Military maps of Scotland

Military maps of Scotland

Maps and plans made for government troops by the Board of Ordnance during the Jacobite period in the 18th century.

The Moir Rare Book Collection

The Moir Rare Book Collection

Learn about John William Moir's collection of rare books on all aspects of bees and beekeeping, including how bees 'sing'!

Morall fabillis of Esope the Phyrgia

Morall fabillis of Esope the Phyrgia

'Aesop's Fables' put into Scots by 15th-century poet Robert Henryson, who lived in Dunfermline. This edition printed in 1571 in Edinburgh.

Moving Image Archive

Moving Image Archive

Watch films from Scotland's national moving images collection, which preserves over 100 years of Scottish history on film and video.

Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark

Using material from her personal archive, we tell the story of the life and career of one of Scotland's greatest novelists, Dame Muriel Spark.

The Murthly Hours

The Murthly Hours

View each page of this book of prayer dated 1280 — one of the most richly illustrated manuscripts in Scotland during the Middle Ages.

The North American journeys of a diplomat's wife

The North American journeys of a diplomat's wife

Henrietta Liston's travel journals, 1796-1801, covering the United States and the West Indies.

Northern lights

Northern lights

Explore the spirit of enquiry, debate, and improvement which characterised the Scottish Enlightenment during the 18th century.

Oor Wullie: Guide to Scots language

Oor Wullie: Guide to Scots language

Oor Wullie an his pals hiv fun weys fur bairns tae learn Scots, an ideas fur parents an teachers.

Out of Africa: The Kirk papers

Out of Africa: The Kirk papers

An overview of the personal papers of Sir John Kirk, a British Consul in Africa who explored the Zambesi with David Livingstone.

Paddy Leigh Fermor's 1933 travel diary

Paddy Leigh Fermor's 1933 travel diary

Read the journal written by Patrick ('Paddy') Leigh Fermor when he travelled on foot around Europe in 1933.

Pencils of light

Pencils of light

Delve into photographic history with 300 images taken in the 1840s by the Edinburgh Calotype Club - the world's first photography society.

Phoebe Anna Traquair

Phoebe Anna Traquair

Examine in detail Traquair's exquisite illuminated manuscript of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's 'Sonnets from the Portuguese'.

The photographs of John Thomson

The photographs of John Thomson

Find out about the Scottish photographer and traveller who helped pioneer photojournalism on London's Victorian streets.

Photographs of the south side of Edinburgh

Photographs of the south side of Edinburgh

Black-and-white photos of tenements and shops around St Leonards, Edinburgh, taken in 1929 by Alfred Henry Rushbrook.

Playbills of the Theatre Royal Edinburgh

Playbills of the Theatre Royal Edinburgh

Find out about this important theatre in the 19th century by searching through our selection of playbills.

Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect

Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect

Read page by page the first published collection of poems by Robert Burns, known as 'The Kilmarnock edition', printed in 1786.

Propaganda — a weapon of war

Propaganda — a weapon of war

A selection of images of British Government propaganda which was used at home and in Europe during the Second World War.

Publications by Scottish clubs

Publications by Scottish clubs

Historical texts from the 12th-19th centuries, edited by Scottish clubs, including manuscripts, church records, diaries, legends and literary texts.

Rare items in Gaelic

Rare items in Gaelic

Books, pamphlets and chapbooks printed in Gaelic between 1631 and 1900. Includes songs, poetry and religious books.

Recipes from Scotland

Recipes from Scotland

Discover how the Scottish diet has changed over the centuries, read manuscript recipe books, and watch Sue Lawrence bake a cake.

Robert Burns

Robert Burns

The life, work and legacy of Scotland's Bard, together with fascinating detail about original material in the Library's collections, and short song clips.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson

A biography of story-teller and poet Robert Louis Stevenson, along with digitised early editions of 'Kidnapped' and other works.

Rolls of honour

Rolls of honour

Scottish listings of casualties and those who died while on active service during the First World War.

Scotia depicta

Scotia depicta

Castles, abbeys, battle grounds, harbours and landscapes in Scotland are among the subjects in this 19th-century book of engravings and descriptions.

Scotland's pages

Scotland's pages

Move along the timeline of key events in Scottish history, and discover along the way some of the 'treasures' held by the Library.

Scots abroad

Scots abroad

Read and hear six stories of Scots who emigrated to start a new life between the 1770s and the 1930s.

Scottish bridges

Scottish bridges

Photographs showing the building of the Forth Bridge, taken from 1886-1887, and the Tay Bridge after its collapse in 1879.

Scottish decorative bookbinding

Scottish decorative bookbinding

Distinctive examples of bookbinding created in Scotland, from our pre-eminent collection of decorative bindings, which spans 500 years.

Scottish history in print

Scottish history in print

Two major Jacobite sources are online as keyword searchable files, together with details of thousands of works published by historical clubs.

Scottish History Society publications

Scottish History Society publications

Original source material illustrating Scotland’s history from the 12th to 20th centuries, published by the Scottish History Society, with authoritative commentaries.

Scottish Post Office directories

Scottish Post Office directories

Find where people lived and traded in Scotland between 1774 and 1911 by searching and browsing over 700 Post Office directories.

Scottish Science Hall of Fame

Scottish Science Hall of Fame

A tribute to 10 great Scottish scientists of the past. Read transcripts of letters, papers and published works about or by them.

Shakespeare collected

Shakespeare collected

View early editions of William Shakespeare's plays. Create a digital Shakespeare scrapbook and add your own images and text.

Shakespeare quartos

Shakespeare quartos

There are 17 of William Shakespeare's plays in these 31 books, printed in quarto format between 1600 and 1639.

Slezer's Scotland

Slezer's Scotland

Dozens of zoomable engravings show us Scottish towns, castles and palaces from the 17th-century, as seen by military surveyor John Slezer.

Soviet posters

Soviet posters

Around 70 posters issued in the Soviet Union between 1919 and1930, relating to the Russian Civil War and economic and social issues.

Special collections of printed music

Special collections of printed music

Volumes from two archives featuring 18th and 19th century Scottish printed music, and from one archive of the works of Verdi.

Sporting photos

Sporting photos

Who are the people in these photos of sporting events in Scotland around the late 19th century? Can you help us find out?

The spread of Scottish printing

The spread of Scottish printing

Trace the spread of printing across Scotland from 1508 to 1900. Read an early item produced in 73 of the first printing towns.

Street literature about Napoleon's Wars

Street literature about Napoleon's Wars

Chapbooks about events from the 1790s to the Battle of Waterloo, mostly ballads about military conflicts with Napoleon Bonaparte.

The 1715 Jacobite Rising

The 1715 Jacobite Rising

A guide to the 1715 Jacobite rising, which changed Scotland. Includes interactives and resources for teachers.

The Duncan Street Explorer

The Duncan Street Explorer

Photos, audio recordings, floor plans and more help tell the story of the famous Bartholomew mapmakers of Edinburgh.

The word on the street

The word on the street

Discover early news stories and ballads that informed and entertained Scots between 1650 and 1910 as you browse around 1,800 broadsides.

The write stuff

The write stuff

Modern Scottish writers — among them J K Rowling, Liz Lochhead and George Mackay Brown — through the lens of photographer Gordon Wright.

Theatre posters 1870-1900

Theatre posters 1870-1900

A glimpse of the theatre in 19th-century Edinburgh — posters and photos of shows, pantomime characters, and actors and actresses of the day.

Thomas Annan's Glasgow

Thomas Annan's Glasgow

Photographs of Glasgow taken by Thomas Annan in the 1860s, with related maps and downloadable learning activities.

Wee Windaes

Wee Windaes

This site charts the continuum of the Scots language in printed form, from the 15th century to the present day.

Works by selected Scottish authors

Works by selected Scottish authors

Out-of-copyright Scottish poetry, prose and children’s stories from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

You are here

You are here

10 things you need to know about maps, how they are made and how we use them. Includes interactive quizzes and downloadable PDFs for teachers.