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Monday, 7 March 2016

National Library of Scotland Digitizes Chapbook Collection

In keeping with their commitment to digitize 30% of their collections, the National Library of Scotland has released a digitized collection of their chapbooks. The digitized collection comprises 3000 chapbooks. 

Chapbooks were the common reading material of our ancestors. Along with the Broadsides, the chapbooks provided the news of the day. From the NLS news release:

"Chapbooks formed the staple reading material of the common people. They deal with every topic under the sun. You can read about trials, transvestites, war; religion, free masons, crime; courtship, Jacobites, the Irish; street life, sports, slavery; prostitution, politics, pirates; emigration, diseases, Scottish life and many more things."

The chapbooks were primarily printed in Edinburgh and Glasgow, although there were smaller printers across Scotland. The NLS notes that 7 of their chapbooks, which were printed in Inverary, are in Gaelic. These chapbooks are songs. 

You can access the chapbook collection here:
http://digital.nls.uk/chapbooks-printed-in-scotland/pageturner.cfm?id=104184103

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