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Letter from H. G. Aldis to Mr. Johnston

Identifier: Coll-1279

Scope and Contents

The letter from H. G. A. (Harry Gidney Aldis) is dated 2 February 1913, Candlemas day, on paper embossed with Grennan, Grantchester Meadows, Cambridge. It is written to 'My dear Johnston' . The letter refers to no further word 'heard from the Astronomer Royal about the incunabula which he is so yearning to send to Cambridge for possible identification'. The letter also talks about illness in the library and about how work offers 'much arrears to mop up before we can venture to start on fifteeners' (incunabula). It goes on to mention how there 'is no photograph or other illustration of the Laing MS of the Philobiblon that I know of' . Aldis has also enclosed 'a rubbing of the binding [...] It is a XVth cent manuscript and the binding is alike on both sides.

The letter offers an archival history of the manuscript 'as related by E.G.D.' (possibly E. Gordon Duff). Apparently it had been 'bought by Laing (through Rev. Wm Stevens) in 1839 from J. L. C. Jacob of Rotterdam for 42 francs'.

The letter was placed inside a copy of Notices of David Laing : to which is added a chronological list of the various publications which were issued under his editorial superintendence from the year M.DCCC.XV. to the year M.DCCC.LXVIII inclusive, by Thomas George Stevenson, 1878, along with a Letter from Edward Gordon Duff (1863-1924) to Mr. Johnston which is now at E2010.34.

The letter is accompanied by the rubbing mentioned above.


  • 1913


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance of any visit.

Biographical / Historical

The bibliographical scholar, Harry Gidney Aldis, Cambridge University Library, lived between 1863 and 1919. Works by Aldis include: A list of books printed in Scotland before 1700 with brief notes on the printers and stationers, Printed for the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society, 1904; A dictionary of printers and booksellers in England, Scotland and Ireland, and of foreign printers of English books, 1557-1640, Bibliographical Society, London, 1910; and, The Printed Book, Cambridge, 1916.


1 letter; 1 rubbing fragment

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material formerly placed in a book in Edinburgh University Library collections, and removed August 2010. Accession no: E2010.34.

Processing Information

Compiled by Graeme D. Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections.
Letter from Harry Gidney Aldis (1863-1919) to Mr. Johnston, with rubbing fragment

Repository Details

Part of the Edinburgh University Library Special Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
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Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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