A number of special collections have been donated to the library service over the years and are now housed in the Local & Family History Service. These cover a range of subjects including music, theology, natural history, Jacobite history and the Gaelic language.
Most of these collections are not included in the library catalogue but have their own finding aids. You will find further information about the larger collections below. Owing to their rarity, most of them are housed in our store and are available for consultation on request.
The Atholl Collection
Consisting of around 600 books and manuscripts of Scottish music, some from the seventeenth century, this collection has been described as one of the most important of its kind.
The Atholl Collection Catalogue was published in 1999 and has recently been updated with information gathered in the intervening years. There is also a card index to the tunes which we can search on your behalf – please get in touch if you are looking for a particular tune.
The Mackintosh Collection
On his death in 1808, the Reverend Donald Mackintosh bequeathed his personal library of 1,200 books, dating from the 1550s, to the town of Dunkeld. Three years later a further 200 books were added by subscription. In 1933 it was donated to the Sandeman Library in Perth. It contains many theological texts as well as poetry, geographies and histories, with a strong emphasis on Jacobitism. The pre-1800 titles have been added to the English Short Title Catalogue.
Dr Mary Noble’s Beatrix Potter Collection
Beatrix Potter’s connections with Perthshire have become better known in recent years, and some of the credit for this must go to Dr Mary Noble. When she was researching the life and work of Charles McIntosh, the Inver postman and local naturalist, she discovered a number of letters from Beatrix to Charles concerning the fungi of the area. While most people are aware of her furry creations, such as Peter Rabbit, few know that she was also an amateur expert on fungi.
Following the discovery of the letters Dr Noble became an acknowledged expert on Beatrix, collecting over 50 books about her and co-authoring at least one. Dr Noble died in 2002 and her Beatrix Potter collection has been donated by her family to the AK Bell Library in Perth.
The Gaelic Society of Perth Library
The Gaelic Society of Perth was founded in 1880 and is still active today, holding several ceilidhs each year. Its primary aim is to promote the Gaelic language, literature and music. The Library of the Gaelic Society has been housed in the AK Bell Library for many years and includes books published up to 1929. You can view the catalogue below.
The 1745 Association Collection
The 1745 Association Collection comprises over 500 books on the Jacobite era and other printed and manuscript material relating to all aspects of Jacobite heritage, including the papers of F. Peter Lole, a leading authority on Jacobite glass. The Collection can be searched via the Library catalogue, and most of the collection is available to browse on the open shelves. Staff will be able to advise about material that is not on the open shelves or awaiting cataloguing.