Keeping it in the family

At New College Library we often receive enquiries from individuals interested in researching their family bibles, who have identified that we hold the same or similar edition at New College Library. Inside these family bibles births, marriages and deaths may have been recorded, making each one a unique resource for family history research. Responding to such an enquiry today, I retrieved Folio Z.29 The Holy Bible (Liverpool : Caxton Press 1815). This heavily illustrated volume is bookplated Harriet McDonald, 1816. As I looked through the volume I discovered this photograph:

Folio Z.29 photo

Is this a picture of Harriet McDonald? As the photo itself has no inscription it’s difficult to be certain. It’s quite possible, however, that this volume was originally given by Harriet herself to New College Library as part of its foundation in the 1840s. With the help of volunteers we are currently transcribing the 1843-1853 donations registers which list all the books given to New College Library in those early years. They’ve already started to reveal a fascinating picture of the individuals who made donations to New College Library, in support of the new Free Church of Scotland. A significant proportion of donors are women and as we progress, we may well find Harriet McDonald’s name recorded for posterity.

Christine Love-Rodgers, Academic Support Librarian – Divinity

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