The second issue of 600 Years of Book Collecting will be available for sale from the Main Library next Wednesday, the 16th of October. This issue is focused on books found in our collections on chemistry/alchemy, anatomy, plant and animal biology and natural phenomena; it is appropriately titled “The Natural World“! The University of St Andrews has had a long tradition in the natural sciences: Aristotle’s world view was the lens through which natural philosophy was taught from the earliest days of the medieval University; Professorships in Mathematics and Medicine and Natural and Experimental Philosophy bolstered the University in the 17th and 18th centuries; and the echoes of the great surge in discovery and classification of the unexplored world reverberated throughout the halls of St Andrews in the 19th and 20th centuries. Throughout all these periods, scientific discovery was communicated in book and journal form and accessible through the Library. These changes and advances in the natural sciences over 600 years are reflected in the Library’s historic and modern collections today.
Treasures featured in “The Natural World” include a copy of Vesalius‘ De Humani Corporis Fabrica owned by Thomas Simson, the first Chandos Chair of Medicine at St Andrews; the very large, first edition of William Hunter‘s study of the anatomy of the human gravid uterus; a collection of alchemical manuscripts from the 14th century, used and noted on throughout the 15th century; and Darwin’s The Zoology of the Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle.
Each issue of 600 Years of Book Collecting features a full chronological listing of the entire series, and each issue also features a part of a visual timeline of the University Library’s history. This series brings together the clarity of modern design and the inherent beauty of the Library’s strongest asset — its books. At £3 each, these beautiful magazines are a beautiful introduction to the University Library’s holdings and a great way to get excited about the Library and the University of St Andrews, recently named Scottish University of the Year 2014.