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Straloch Diary, Library list, Album, Visitors Book

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Straloch Diary, Library list, Album, Visitors Book by IRVINE, Mary;  (1880)

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Author: IRVINE, Mary;
Title: Straloch Library Catalogue, Diary, Album, Visitors' Book etc
Year: 1880
Publisher: Unpublished
Place: Straloch near Aberdeen; Creech Grange in Dorset; London
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: No
Price: £1350
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Added under Manuscripts  

Coherent and revealing Scottish gentry archive including the diary of Mary Irvine of Drum (1885-1892) owner of Straloch house near Aberdeen, together with the house's library lending list (1866-1884) visitors' book (1874-1894) and a decorative family photo album, together offering a vivid and visual account of the existence of the moneyed classes at the close of the nineteenth century. Mary Irvine's DIARY covers 1885-1892 and includes a harrowing account of the birth of 's Wild West Show in London in 1887. Irvine writes in black ink over 450 pages (c50,000 words) of an octavo sized, lockable manuscript book. Irvine divided her time between the family's home at Creech Grange in Dorset (Steeple south of Wareham), Straloch and her London home where she enjoyed a vigorous cultural life with theatre visits that included the 'Candidate', Dick Whittington at Drury Lane, an organ recital in Wareham, ‘Mikado, most amusing so pretty' and the exhibition of Holman Hunt’s '"Triumph of Innocents" which I don’t much care for’. She describes intervening in a road accident which involved a child close to her home near Hanover Square. At Straloch she attends a ball at Aberdeen barracks with Major Macpherson Grant in a ‘crimson tulle dress which was said to look very well’, engages in political canvassing and much socialising with the likes of 'Sir Lyon and Lady Playfair... He is a very ugly but most pleasant little man. She is an American with most wonderful garments...' (p69). From May 27 1887 there is an engaging account of watching Buffalo Bill perform in London: 'Went to the American exhibition Buffalo Bill’s performance is very good the shooting is wonderful (p 280). Written in pencil Irvine gives a detailed account of the final stage of her pregnancy: 'Out a little in the morning. About 6.15. as I was lying on the sofa felt the waters break the [labour] pains were on about 7 an hour seemed to got to about 10 and I went to bed, They got awful. Dr Buchan gave me chloroform. My 2nd son was born at 11.15 was rather torn so had to be sewn up in two places with old wire wh. hurt awful.' The LIBRARY LIST is quarto, and runs to 20 pages of a half red roan manuscript book from the 1840s. Entitled 'Straloch Library - Books Lent - 1866', this is a much more interesting document than would be its putative English equivalent. There are columns for Date Taken/ Name of Books/ Name of Borrower/ Date when Returned. The first entry is for 'Dr Whewell's Plurality of Worlds' which was borrowed by Peter Burnet in 1866 with Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Cricket on the Hearth also on the first page (around a dozen items per page). What follows is a mixture of novels (including David Copperfield), philosophy, Scottish topography and history and a small amount of theology. Standard histories such as Rollins' Ancient History and Hume's England appear alongside James Cooper's borrowing of The Transactions of the Highland Society in 1872. The final entry dates from 1884 though the book was briefly revived in 1938. The accompanying PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM is in spectacular condition with the initials 'C.S.M.R.' in gilt on green morocco and contains a mixture of Scottish gentry, political figures, together with family and friends. Early images of public figures are embellished with examples of their cut signatures including Lords Aberdeen, Palmerston, and the scientist Sir David Brewster. The family members are all identified by name with further images of Creech Grange, Kirkville and the volunteers at 'Wimbledon Camp 1868'. The VISITORS' BOOK is quarto sized with 'Straloch' in gilt on upper brown morocco cover; 'D Wyllie' of Aberdeen bookseller's ticket; entries from 1874-1894, about 100 pages and makes an effective pendant to the photo album, containing as it does numerous of those individuals including members of the Nares family, the Bishop of Aberdeen, Robert O Farquharson etc.

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