'The owner of one of the largest and most valuable private libraries in Scotland': David Hay Fleming as book collector.
Reid, Peter H.
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AITCHISON, B. and REID, P.H. 2015. 'The owner of one of the largest and most valuable private libraries in Scotland': David Hay Fleming as book collector. Library and information history [online], 31(2), pages 95-116. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1179/1758348914Z.00000000077
David Hay Fleming, one in a long line of gentlemen scholars, is remembered as an historian, antiquary, and critic. Yet upon his death in 1931 he left his library of nearly 13,000 volumes (together with his personal papers, letters, and notebooks) to the town of St Andrews, to form the nucleus of a public reference library. This paper seeks to place him firmly in the context of a book collector (and reader) through examining the subjects contained within his library, his motivation for acquiring books, and how his library was used both by himself and by others. Ultimately, new light will be shed upon the book-collecting habits of a middle-class individual, contributing to our understanding of how books were owned, read, and used in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Scotland.