A new book on the history of the University of St Andrews has just been released. Launched on 28 September, Ever to Excel: An lllustrated History of the University of St Andrews has been published as a collaborative venture by the University and Dundee University Press, and has been authored by Norman Reid, the Head of Special Collections. It is only the second time that a single-volume history of the University has been attempted, the last being in 1946, by one of Dr Reid’s predecessors, Ronald Cant. Unlike the former work, however, the new history is lavishly illustrated and is aimed at the general reader. Exploiting the University’s own rich archival holdings, it introduces the reader to the vibrant and often turbulent 600-year story of the University and its town, set in the wider historical contexts of society, religion, politics and intellectual thought. So far, it has been well received: comments have ranged from the eloquent “excellent and beautifully written”, “a rare delight” and “eminently readable … beautifully supported by an array of treasured photographs”, to the more prosaic “f…ing brilliant”!
It is the second publication produced by the Special Collections Department to support celebration of the University’s 600th anniversary. A year ago, Treasures of St Andrews University Library, edited by members of the department, hit the bookshelves. Another luxuriously illustrated book, it highlights 50 stunning items from the Special Collections, each explained by a brief essay, and all prefaced by a short history of the Library.
Both books are available from local bookshops. The Treasures of St Andrews University Library may also be purchased through http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/specialcollections/Treasuresbook/ , and Ever to Excel through http://www.dundee.ac.uk/dup/books/evertoexcel/ .