About the middle of last
century the need for a Bibliography of Gaelic Literature was much felt
by scholars and others interested in that language. Since John Reid
published his Bibliotheca Scoto-Celtica in Glasgow in 1832, a great many
new books appeared in Gaelic from the printing-presses of Edinburgh,
Glasgow, and other places, but hitherto there has been no work of
reference available to guide the student in his selection of suitable
books. Reid's work dealt with Gaelic Literature under several different
subjects, and although it possessed considerable merit, so backward was
the state of education over the Highlands and Islands of Scotland at the
time of its appearance and for many years afterwards that the book was
hardly known even to those who had a fair knowledge of the Gaelic
About sixteen years ago I resolved to compile a Bibliography of Books
printed in the Gaelic of Scotland from their Incunabula to the present
year. I was aware of the magnitude and difficulty of the task, but many
friendly letters from literary Celts who appreciated the value of my
work helped in no small degree to encourage me to persevere in my
The late Professor Donald Mackinnon placed at my disposal very valuable
bibliographic material which he had collected for many years before he
became the first occupant of the Celtic Chair in Edinburgh. It is not
possible for me to acknowledge fully my indebtedness to this collection.
The reader will see that I have confined myself entirely to books
printed in the Gaelic of Scotland, which I have arranged in alphabetical
sequence according to the names of the authors. Only in very few
instances has this order been departed from, and in each case for some
I have given a verbatim et literatim transcript of the Title-Pages,
adding a full collation of each work by pagination rather than by
signatures. Occasionally I have given a detailed description of some
books and their authors, more especially where the nature of the works
invited comments or statements that would likely be appreciated by
readers. In transcribing some of the Titles, I had, in a few instances,
to correct manifest typographic errors that led to ambiguity or
obscurity, and which, in a few instances, even amounted to mis-statements.
No attempt has been made to reproduce the assortment of type used in the
originals. I have included the leading religious tracts and pamphlets,
as well as tractates of controversial literature, ecclesiastical and
secular. Mere leaflets of no merit or originality are excluded.
It is most likely that there have been some booklets and editions of
which I have not heard, but it is my belief that the reader in this work
has before him practically a full Inventory of the Printed Books that
appeared up to date in the Gaelic of Scotland. To ensure
comprehensiveness and accuracy I have spared neither labour nor expense.
I have searched the leading Libraries of Great Britain, and I have been
in communication with Colonial and Continental Librarians and
Booksellers. I have approached private collectors as far as I could go,
and I have for many years scanned and noted the pages of booksellers'
and auctioneers' catalogues.
I trust that literary Celts, Booksellers, Librarians, as well as the
general public, will find in this work something of interest and value.
It will, I hope, show those ignorant of Gaelic that the venerable
language has a wide field of literature ; and to the scholar already
cognisant of that fact it will reveal the exact extent as well as the
nature and quality thereof. Gaelic literature, like the literature of
most countries, has been contributed to by native Poets, Theologians,
Philologists, Educationists, and Patriots, as well as by men and women
from many spheres in life, to whose genius and efforts their countrymen
of the present day owe, in great measure, their intellectual and
material advancement alongside the other races that make up our mighty
The Author desires to express his acknowledgments to the Carnegie Trust
for the Universities of Scotland for their offer of financial assistance
towards the expenses of the publication of this work.
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