The very first catalogue of the Glasgow School of Art Library is now held in Archives and Collections, bound with other inventories in a single volume [ref. Information Services, Catalogue of Books, Casts etc. School of Ornamental Art]. The volume contains two library inventories, one for a reference library and one for a lending library. Entries are undated, but the first book to be accessioned into the catalogue is still held by the Library and bears a bookplate with an 1847 date of deposit. Each volume was assigned an accession number in the inventory, and these numbers often appear in manuscript towards the front of the physical volumes.
Many of the earlier entries appear to be in the hand of headmaster Charles Heath Wilson, with CHW appearing alongside the entries. Later entries are in other hands, and generally lack the detail of Wilson’s entries.
Over the last three weeks, we have transcribed this register, identifying which books are still held in the library, then re-cataloguing them and moving them into our Special Collections. Much of the material is on art and architecture, but there are also examples of literature, philosophy, and aesthetics. The books which form the Foundation Collections give a rich insight into the curriculum of the day and they will be of particular interest to those conducting research into mid-nineteenth century art education.