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Clement Litill

The foundation collection.

The 276 volumes bequeathed by Clement Litill (or Little) in 1580 were the first books in the University Library. The books cover both Catholic and Protestant theology and humanist scholarship. There are outstanding individual items such as the unqiue copy of the Sarum breviary printed at Rouen in 1496 (Dd.1.24) and the first book printed at St. Andrews (the Catechisme of Archbishop John Hamilton, 1552, Dd.2.33. Many of the books have fascinating provenances, having been owned by Scottish bishops such as Henry Sinclair or William Scheves, and have early manuscript annotations.

A manuscript catalogue of the books was drawn up in the 1580s and is printed in the Miscellany of the Maitland Club, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, 1834), pp 285-301. A catalogue with full bibliographical details is in Charles P. Finlayson, Clement Litill and his Library; the Origins of Edinburgh University Library (Edinburgh Bibliographical Society and the Friends of Edinburgh University Library, 1980). 243 of the original volumes are still in the library. All appear in the Library's pre-1985 main catalogue and many are now catalogued online. The collection was reconstructed in the early 19th century by David Laing and all the books now have shelfmarks beginning Dd.

Bequest Charter Images

Photographs of the Clement Litill Bequest Charter can be viewed in our online image portal: Clement Litill Bequest Charter

Shelflists available to download

Our printed collections are catalogued on DiscoverEd, the University's discovery platform. However, for research purposes we have provided shelflists of distinct collections that can be downloaded and browsed / searched.