Psalms for St Cecilia’s Day

Moore, Thomas “Psalm singers’ pocket companion”, Glasgow 1756. Hymn 264/1

The feast of St Cecilia’s Day is traditionally celebrated on November 22nd.  A 3rd century martyr, St Cecilia is known as the patron saint of musicians. Her legend relates that, as a young Christian,  she was betrothed to a pagan but she had already vowed her virginity to God. As the organs played at at her wedding feast, Cecilia sang (in her heart) to the Lord, asking that her heart remain pure.

Here’s a book of Psalms to remember her by. Thomas Moore’s Psalm singers’ pocket companion is a publication from the revival era known as Gallery Psalmody, where leading singers and choir were located in a loft of the church. The new style lasted for about a century from 1755, and its main features were choirs singing in harmony of usually three parts, with some solo sections. Thomas Moore (- d. 1792) was a music teacher from Manchester Cathedral who came to Glasgow to teach singing.

This item is small, or pocket sized, and contains a number of manuscript doodles which may testify to the singer’s mind wandering elsewhere. Also interesting are the pages of handwritten music staves, perhaps to allow the singer to make notes of new tunes or harmonies.

The Psalm singers’ pocket companion belongs to the Hymnology Collection, and was catalogued as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects. With thanks to our Project Cataloguer, Oreste de Tommaso, for supplying details of this item.

Israel, the Assyrians and a shoemaker’s gift

The sacred and profane history of the world connected : from the creation of the world to the dissolution of the Assyrian Empire …, and to the declension of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel …/ by Samuel Shuckford, D.D. Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty, George the Second. ; Revised … by James Creighton. Philadelphia, 1824.
New College Library [Special Collections] Z.2152

At todays’ opening seminar in the Divinity Biblical Studies Research Seminar series, the speaker is Dr Carly Crouch, Lecturer in Hebrew Bible, University of Nottingham, on “Israel and the Assyrians”.

On that note, here’s an ambitious work of history from New College Library’s Special Collections that covers the Assyrian Empire and  “the declension of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel”. Written by Samuel Shuckford in the eighteenth century, this edition was published in the nineteenth century and is the first American edition of this work.

What interested me the most was in fact the label inside the book (well, I am a librarian), which states:

“Presented to the Free Church of Scotland, by Thomas Aikman, shoemaker, a native of Scotland, near Sterling [sic], a citizen of the United States of America since 1794 – a member of the Presbyterian Church in full communion for more than fifty years. Burlington, N.J., 1844.”

With this provenance, the book must have been donated to New College Library as part of the first appeal for books that came with the founding of New College as the College for the Free Church of Scotland after the Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843.  It shows that Thomas Aikman, an emigrant of humble background, was following religious affairs in his homeland closely and that the principles behind the founding of New College were close enough to his heart for him to donate this book.

This book is part of the ‘Z’ Collection, currently being catalogued as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects at New College Library.

New College Library record of Jacobite Edinburgh

On 15 September 1745 a Jacobite army was at the gates of Edinburgh. Charles Edward Stuart had arrived to attempt to regain the Scottish throne for the exiled House of Stuart. The gates of the city were opened on the 17th and the Jacobites entered. On 18 September King James VIII was proclaimed with Charles as his Regent.

A true account of the behaviour and conduct of Archibald Stewart, Esq., late Lord Provost of Edinburgh (1748) New College Library W.a.11/1

This pamphlet, A true account of the behaviour and conduct of Archibald Stewart, Esq., late Lord Provost of Edinburgh (1748), looks back on this moment in time. Although anonymous, it is known to have been written by David Hume, the Scottish philosopher. Stewart was Provost at the time of the Jacobite Rebellion and refused to arm the city against the Jacobite highland army. For this decision he was tried at the High Court for neglect of duty and misbehaviour in 1747 and acquitted. Hume’s pamphlet was written in his defence.

This item is part of New College Library’s Pamphlet Collection and has been catalogued online as part of the Funk Cataloguing Projects – see the University of Edinburgh Library online catalogue.

Science and religion : a natural history

R. Brookes. A new and accurate system of natural history, containing, 1. The history of quadrupeds …London : Printed for J. Newbery at the Bible and Sun in St. Paul’s Church Yard, 1763. New College Library Nat. 109

Today’s Opening Lecture for the 2012-13 academic session at the School of Divinity will be given by Professor Wentzel van Huyssteen of Princeton Theological Seminary, and will launch the new MSc in Science and Religion.

New College Edinburgh’s history of teaching Science and Religion goes back to the original Chair of Natural Science that was occupied at New College until 1934. The books in New College Library’s Natural History collection, now part of its Special Collections, reflect this academic past.

This volume A new and accurate system of natural history, containing, 1. The history of quadrupeds … contains striking animal illustrations, and is part of a series covering the whole of the natural world.

A bookplate and stamp marks the item as originating from the United Presbyterian Library. The 1900 Union of the Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church prompted the amalgamation of their library into New College Library, and many volumes in Special Collections bear these marks.