Explore Your Archive 2017

The Explore Your Archive Campaign is run in conjunction with the Archives and Records Association, the professional body for archivists in the UK and Ireland. The University of Edinburgh is joining in this campaign, running from 18 to 25 November, led by colleagues in the Centre for Research Collections. Throughout social media you will see archivists promoting their archives, whether they are interesting, intriguing, puzzling or pleasing, using the hashtag #exploreyourarchive.

Here at New College Library we have made a significant step to help you explore your archive. For the first time, the catalogues which have previously only been available in the Library itself are now available online. There are over 530 catalogue entries for New College archives now freely searchable on archives.collections.ed.ac.uk . You can browse the whole collection, or search by person, organisation, place (in some instances), and limit searches by date.

The process of creating the online catalogue has revealed the strengths of the collection and the breadth of topics covered. Far from being simply a treasure trove of Scottish church history material, the collections include:

In addition, digital images of some of the archives and special collections, including our copies of the National Covenants can be found on https://images.is.ed.ac.uk – click on the New College icon.

Should you wish to consult any material you find through the online catalogue you are welcome to visit New College Library or contact new.college.library@ed.ac.uk. All archives and manuscripts are consulted in the Funk Reading Room at New College Library.

The first of the daily hashtags for Explore Your Archive week is #archivecatwalk. The annual class and graduation photographs taken in New College, the earliest of which is from 1857 (ref. AA1.8.2), provide a fascinating timeline of fashions. The students below would look quite at home in today’s hipster cafes, especially those with the extra cachet of having a cane.

Class Photograph, 1860 (ref. AA1.8.2)

Staff and students at New College, Edinburgh, 1860 (ref. AA1.8.2)

Keep an eye on our tweets and those of our colleagues @EdUniLibraries, @CRC_EdUni, @EU_SSSA, and www.facebook.com/crc.edinburgh/ for further archives exploration.

Kirsty M Stewart, New College Collections Curator

Martin Luther in his own words #Reformation500

Today the School of Divinity will mark 500 years since Martin Luther nailed the Ninety Five Theses to the door of Wittemberg Church with a public lecture from Durham University’s Professor Alec Ryrie, a leading scholar of Reformation History, who will speak on ‘Protestants and their Bibles from the Reformation to the Present’.

In New College Library, a display in the Library Hall showcases some of Luther’s early publications. Martin Luther’s prolific publishing output in Latin and German preserves the arguments that shook Catholic Europe.  Much more can be seen at the Incendiary Texts exhibition to be held at the Centre for Research Collections, Main Library, 10 November 2017-8 March 2018.  Continue reading

‘The price of blood’ : Frederick Douglass speaks to Scotland

A guest post for Black History Month by Eleanor Rideout, IS Helpdesk Assistant

Frederick Douglass by Samuel J Miller, 1847-52. Wikimedia Commons

Noted African-American anti-slavery campaigner Frederick Douglass had embarked on a tour of Ireland and Great Britain, reaching Scotland in 1846. He was speaking against the evils of slavery generally, but a decision made by the Free Church of Scotland became the focus of his work here.

The separation of the Free Church from the Church of Scotland meant that funding needed to be found. One source was fellow Presbyterian Churches, including those in the American South. Money was accepted from slaveholders, which did not go unnoticed by abolitionists.

Douglass’s reputation as a powerful speaker is confirmed by two anonymous letters from a woman living in Dundee, addressed to Free Church leader Thomas Chalmers, which are held at New College Library, Edinburgh.

Anonymous to Thomas Chalmers, 1 April 1846. MS CHA 4.321.41-42.

The writer’s style is impassioned, swerving between criticism of slaveholders, concern for her own soul, and description of events recently witnessed:

“They would not give the churches and few comparatively speaking gave their ears. Because it was said that the strangers witnessed too hard things against your Church. If the Men tell the Truth you should not be angry.”

“Dear Dr C. What are you going to do in the matter of taking money from the slaveholders in the America about which I heard a great deal last week & meetings – two of which I attended – as I used to be very much interested in the Slave question…”

“Part of my ordinary as Rev. T Boston would say, or rather my extraordinary for in thought word and deed I am of late a Backslidder [Backslider], ah for Grace to grow in grace. You see how I wander –It is the Poor Captive slave I wish now to speak for. I would you would be a tongue to such dumb ones. Then soon soon the Lord will look down and deliver. For to them belongeth Power, Dominion, Strength, Mercy. And then will their tongues become glories to praise, to bless to laud the King of Glory – and they too shall not forget you –as we all have too long forgotten them. Neglect is infliction.

O how much I know of my Masters will yet do it not I wish whiles the Lord would set me and take me.”

She also uses rhetorical flourish herself to try and persuade Chalmers:

“It was sins of ignorance I was reading today 4 Lev. I see there the Lord will not let such pass. It was for such the blessed Jesus prayed when on the cross Father forgive them. Now I believe firmly you did not see at the time that taking money from slaveholders was the price of blood – verily your Church hath been guilty. Do not think I am glad to set aught against you because you have far outstript us in the way of voluntary giving. No I was glad and I myself made crape [crêpe] the year of the disruption that I might give what I had for ribbon, to your Free Church, Free Church what have you to do with the House of Bondage. Hath the Truth made you Free – then Freely give.”

It is interesting to be able to read her words along with the published transcripts of the speeches made by Frederick Douglass, also held at New College Library :

Free Church Alliance with manstealers: send back the money, great anti-slavery meeting in the City Hall, Glasgow. Glasgow: George Gallie, 1846. M.d.9/10.

 

“All was going on gloriously – triumphantly; the moral and religious sentiment of the country was becoming concentrated against slavery, slaveholders, and the abetters of slaveholders, when, at this period, the Free Church of Scotland sent a deputation to the United States with a doctrine diametrically opposed to the abolitionists, taking up the ground that, instead of no fellowship, they should fellowship the slaveholders. According to them the slaveholding system is a sin, but not the slaveholder a sinner.”

“The deputation had an excellent opportunity of aiming an effectual blow at slavery, but they turned a deaf ear and refused to listen to the friends of freedom. They turned a deaf ear to the groans of the oppressed slave – they neglected the entreaties of his friends- and they went into the slave states, not for the purpose of imparting knowledge to the slave, but to go and strike hands with the slaveholders, in order to get money to build Free Churches and pay Free Church ministers in Scotland. [Cries of “shame” and applause.]”

“I verily believe, that, had I been at the South, and had I been a slave, as I have been a slave – and I am a slave still by the laws of the United States- had I been there, and that deputation had come into my neighbourhood, and my master had sold me on the auction block, and given the produce of my body and soul to them, they would have pocketed it and brought it to Scotland to build their churches and pay their ministers.”

While the Free Church money was not returned the strong impression made on listeners by Frederick Douglass’s words can be seen clearly in these letters. With the 200th anniversary of his birth in 2018 his great contribution to the abolitionist cause is likely to be celebrated more and more.

Eleanor Rideout

With thanks to Alasdair Pettinger whose article ‘The Bloody Gold’ drew attention to this letter: http://www.bulldozia.com/projects/index.php?id=616

Freedom to read, freedom to believe #BannedBooksWeek

A guest post by Eleanor Rideout, IS Helpdesk Assistant

Banned Books Week, held the week of September 24th in 2017, is an annual celebration of the freedom to read. New College Library holds many texts that have been banned at different points in history, and by different nations and cultures. This week you can see some of these banned books on display in New College Library. Continue reading

Resources for Christian ministry and worship at New College Library

Today New College welcomes ministers and worship leaders to a CPD day focusing on Biblical resources. Topics include current scholarship on the Gospel of John and Advent themes in the Hebrew Bible.

At New College Library, we welcome people working in the church to use our outstanding theological collections for research and continuing professional development. Continue reading

Welcome to New College Library 2017 #edwelcome

divinity-libraryA big welcome to all students starting and returning to the University of Edinburgh, at the beginning of Welcome Week 2016. We’re looking forward to meeting you. To help you get started with Library & IT services at the University, check out this ‘Useful Information for New Students’ page : www.ed.ac.uk/is/new-students. Don’t forget to collect your University card from the Main Library in George Square.

You can find out more about New College Library at http://www.ed.ac.uk/is/new-college-library and about library resources for Divinity at : http://www.ed.ac.uk/is/subject-guides-divinity. 

I’ll be running library tours that are open to all UG and PG students on Friday 22 September at 1.15pm and on Friday 29 September at 1.15pm – as well as meeting many of you in the introductory Welcome Week sessions.

Christine Love-Rodgers – Academic Support Librarian

Christian-Muslim Encounters in Texts

This week, the School of Divinity hosts the first conference of the Global Network for Christian-Muslim Studies,  Reframing Christian-Muslim Encounter : Theological and Philosophical Perspectives.

In a new display in New College Library, we can see some Christian-Muslim encounters in texts from New College Library’s collections.  These texts record Christian reactions to the Muslim encounters Turkish military campaigns brought close to home, and the preparations of Christian missionaries to venture into Muslim territories. 

Robert, of Chester, active 1143, Peter, the Venerable, approximately 1092-1156, Bibliander, Theodorus (1504-1564), Luther, Martin (1483-1586) Melanchthon, Philipp (1497-1560), Machumetis Saracenorum principis, eius’ que successorum vitae, doctrina, ac ipse Alcoran.
(Basel, 1550) MH.163

At the same time as Martin Luther was challenging the authority of the papacy using scripture, the military campaigns of the Turks were approaching closer into Europe. Luther approached this encounter with Islam by inquiring into Islamic texts, which culminated in his involvement in this publication in Latin of the Qur’ān. Continue reading

Student interns in Stack III this summer

Over this summer, our three student interns, Thomas, Holly and Mila have been hard at work behind the scenes in New College Library’s Stack III. Their task was to work with the X Collection, a collection of large (folio) early printed books. Over the years this collection had gathered a layer of dust, which our interns carefully removed with a museum book hoover. Having our interns handling each of these books was also a great opportunity to learn more about them, and to understand how the collection was composed in terms of date, language and place of publication. These details were logged using methodology adapted from projects on collections in National Trust Houses.

We’re delighted to say that that our interns have tackled three full bays of the X Collection, and cleaned and logged over 1600 books. We now know that the collection (as logged so far) is almost entirely pre-1800 in date, predominantly in English and Latin and pretty equally split between European and UK imprints. All this information will help us to develop future projects to catalogue this collection online.

It was a pleasure to work with our student interns, and through their enthusiasm to rediscover these collections. Hope to do it all again next year!

Christine Love-Rodgers, Academic Support Librarian – Divinity.

With thanks to Margaret Redpath, NCL Library Services Manager and Karen Bonthron, ECA/NCL Helpdesk Team Lead

New College Library Collections go under wraps during essential maintenance work

Essential maintenance work is being undertaken in September and October on the New College heating system. We will be installing protective coverings in the Library to manage risks of leaks from the heating pipes which run through the New College Library collections on all the Stack floors.  This means that public access to library collections in Stack I and Stack II is likely to be restricted between Monday 28 August and Wednesday 20 September. The Library Hall and the David Welsh Reading Room will be open as usual,  and we will be running a fetch on demand service for library users with hourly collections. We regret that there is likely to be some noise disruption from the works during September and October, and we will continue to provide earplugs for anyone who needs them.

Updates and further information on New College Library

Christine Love-Rodgers, Academic Support Librarian – Divinity

New College Library is open throughout the Edinburgh Festival 2017

Edinburgh Festival time is coming, and the Assembly Hall on the Mound will once again be a Festival venue. As well as the Assembly Hall, the Rainy Hall and various other rooms at New College will be used during this year’s Festival Fringe from Friday 21st July to Friday 1st September 2017.The Quad will also be in use as a bar and the box office will be located on Mound Place.

New College Library remains open throughout the Festival season.   Should you see any sign at the gates saying ‘This Venue is Closed’,  this will apply only to the Festival Fringe venues and will not restrict your own access to the Library, which you can enter as usual. During Fringe performance times, access to the Quad will be controlled by Fringe staff and you are advised to carry your staff or student card, to facilitate your entry and to minimise any inconvenience.

If you are visiting Edinburgh, you are welcome to register for visitor reference access to New College Library. Please bring two forms of identity with you. We require photographic proof of identity, confirmation of current address, and a passport size/style colour photograph to register for a reference card.