The Fintry Trust Library is kept in various locations in the house: most of the collection is in the Library itself, but there are also books in the Lower Hall, the Dining Room, on the Landing and in the Study upstairs. There is also a reserve section where second copies of some books are kept.
The Fintry Trust Library is kept in various locations
While not claiming to be comprehensive, the library represents an intention to gather together the multiple expressions of integral wisdom wherever it is to be found, and therefore covers all the main religious and philosophical traditions, concentrating on primary sources. Books are arranged according to subject, as far as possible, and among the many different sections are the following: Indian Philosophy, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Sufism, Judaism, Zen Buddhism, Mysticism, Spirituality, Early Church History, Bible Studies, Medieval Philosophy, Mythology, Greek Philosophy, Classical Studies, Celtic and Ancient British, Chinese and Japanese Life and Thought, and Egypt.
Cataloguing – all books have an Accession Number which indicates where the item will be found on the shelves. The numbering system begins with the Indian Philosophy/Hinduism section (000-150) and includes works by, among others, Tagore and Swami Vivekananda, as well as various versions of The Upanishads and The Bhagavad-Gita. This section continues into the books of the Sacred Books of the East series (157-185).
Reference – a reference section is located on three shelves below the Indian Philosophy/Hinduism section. Books here are prefixed by REF, then a number from 001, currently as far as REF042. This section includes language dictionaries, (e.g. Latin, Greek, English), and dictionaries of different religious traditions and philosophies, as well as general reference works. There are other reference books on the bookcase at the far end of the large dining-room, including some language dictionaries.
A complete collection of Shrine of Wisdom magazines, Manuals and the twelve issues of Verity magazine are on the shelf below the Reference section.
Above the fireplace, there are books by and about the Persian Mystics, Islam, Sufism, Zoroaster and the Jewish mystical tradition (187-267), and includes works by Sa’adi, Firdusi and Maimonides. There are various copies of the Koran and a five-volume set of The Zohar.
There follows a collection of books on Buddhism (268-482), embracing the life of the Buddha, Tibetan Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, and Buddhist philosophy. Of particular note here are thirteen books by D.T. Suzuki, the Zen Master, including one signed by the author, and a series of books produced by the Pali Text Society
On the mantelpiece below these shelves is a collection of very small books. These have come from different sections of the library and are in order of their original catalogue number (prefix MP).
To the right of the section on Buddhism, on the top shelf, there are a number of books on Healing (420-442), including spiritual healing and books by Mary Baker Eddy.
Below these books is a section on Mysticism and Spirituality (486-917), which features books by all the major figures in the European mystical tradition, including works of, among others, Meister Eckhart, Francis de Sales, Thomas A Kempis, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, Tauler, Suso, Madame Guyon, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Francis of Assisi, William Law, Walter Hilton, Julian of Norwich, Jan van Ruysbroek, and Richard Rolle, as well many books by Evelyn Underhill and W.R. Inge. Other notable authors in this section include Anna Kingsford, Edward Maitland, Rudolf Otto, Rufus Jones, Teilhard de Chardin and Manly P. Hall.
Above the door are a number of general Philosophy books (919-965), leading to collections of the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (935-948, 966-996). To the left of the door as one enters the library, below the Emerson section, are books by Jacob Boehme and Emanuel Swedenborg (997-1040.9). These books constitute only a part of the library’s holdings of works by Boehme, which numbers over 50 volumes.
There follows a small selection of books relating to World Religions (1052-1077), leading to the section of the library devoted to Early Church History (1078-1294).
This section includes works on aspects of the Bible, Commentaries on the Old and New Testaments, prayer-books, and books by or about St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Gregory, and St. Bernard, among others.
The top three shelves of the next section of the library contain a series of books by the Russian religious philosopher Nicolas Berdyaev (1312.1-1312.12), as well as books by other philosophers and in particular works by the Cambridge Platonists (1313-1355), including John Smith, John Norris, Ralph Cudworth, and Henry More.
An extensive collection of books on Mythology (1411-1630.3) follows, embracing all the great traditions. Among notable items are Bayley’s Lost Language of Symbolism, Bryant’s Ancient Mythology (3 volumes), many volumes from MacKenzie’s Myth and Legend in Literature and Art series, Fraser’s The Golden Bough (13 volumes), and Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology (4 volumes).
The main Classical section (1733-2181) follows, beginning with Iamblichus, Proclus, Pausanias, and Pythagoras. There are also shelves of works by Plotinus, Philo, Boethius and Synesius and other classical writers. Further works by Plato and Aristotle (including translations by Thomas Taylor) will be found in this section, shelved according to size in numerical order. Of particular interest here is Bell’s New Pantheon (2 volumes) and Sydenham’s Onomasticon Theologicum. The top shelf of this section (below the Celtic & Ancient British books) contains oversize books between the numbers 1794 and 2072, and includes a complete set of The Platonist edited by Thomas M. Johnson (in 4 volumes)
In the free-standing bookcase facing, there is a shelf of books relating to Greek Life and Thought (prefix GL), a shelf of books relating to Ancient History (including Duncker’s History of Antiquity (4 volumes) and Banier’s Mythology and Fables of the Ancients (4 volumes)), as well as shelves devoted to Plato (Grote’s Plato, The Dialogues of Plato translated by Jowett, and Bohn’s Classical Library edition of the Works of Plato) and Aristotle (Oxford edition of the Works of Aristotle translated into English in 11 volumes).
The top shelf of this bookcase contains books written by TUO members. These books are prefixed by TUO, then a number from 001 (Addey), as far as 058 (Whitby), with gaps for books to be added, in alphabetical order.
On the other side of this bookcase, on the top shelf, there is a collection of books from The Wisdom of the East series, published by John Murray. There are over 50 books here from different Eastern religious traditions. The books are in numerical order, according to their original catalogue number (prefix WE).
The shelf below these books has works by Rudolf Steiner, Annie Besant and other Theosophists. Also in this bookcase is a collection of works from the period of the Italian Renaissance, including a set of the Letters of Marsilio Ficino. Below these can be found The Jewish Encyclopaedia (12 volumes) and a number of English-Welsh and Welsh-English dictionaries.
The collection of books on the two long shelves labelled Celtic and Ancient British (1676-1732, 1926-1995, 2181.1-W2377) includes books of and about Welsh poetry, Welsh and Irish mythology and fairy tales, Druidism, Stonehenge, and also books on the Welsh language. There are various editions of The Mabinogion. The Cambrian Journal (11 volumes), the Cambrian Register (4 volumes), and the Cambrian Magazine (5 volumes) are of particular interest.
Because the shelves in the library are fixed, oversize books are kept in various places around the library, viz (i) in the glass-fronted bookcase, to the left of the computer desk – these are in numerical order of their original catalogue number and prefixed with OS (oversize) and include books from all sections of the library, (ii) on the bottom shelf of the bookcase below the glass-fronted bookcase (again, in numerical order, prefixed OS, from all sections of the library).
On the top shelf of the large glass-fronted bookcase are a number of leather-bound books of general interest, placed in order of their original catalogue number. Below this shelf oversize books of note include Picart’s Religious Rites and Ceremonies, MacLaurin’s Account of Sir Isaac Newton’s Philosophical Discoveries, Faber’s Origin of Pagan Idolatry (3 volumes), and Waring’s Stone Monuments, Tumuli and Ornament of Remote Ages. The two shelves below the glass-fronted bookcase contain a miscellaneous collection of books brought into this position from the study, mostly covering topics related to Ancient History.
The small bookcase to the left of the computer desk includes books by and about Gurdjieff and Krishnamurti, and also books on numbers.
In the Lower Hall are two different general encyclopaedias (Encyclopaedia Britannica & Chambers Encyclopaedia) and also Hastings Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (13 volumes). Also here are the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas (22 volumes) and the Ante-Nicene Christian Library: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to AD 325 (25 volumes).
On the Landing are books relating to China and Chinese Philosophy, including Confucius and Lao Tsze (2700-2967), books about Japan, and a number of novels showing the way of life in the Far East. The glass-fronted bookcase to the left has books on topography, archaeology and prehistoric monuments in Wales, Ireland and Scotland (2264-2273, 3909-4039), while the glass-fronted bookcase to the right has a collection of books by Sir William Jones, and also the Classical Journal (38 volumes) and The Theosophical Review (23 volumes).
In the Study are books on Egypt and subjects such as Kabbalah and Alchemy, as well as collections of works by A.E. Waite and G. R. S. Mead. There is also a collection of older books of a specialised nature withdrawn from the general library.
Stored under Security – books stored under security are prefixed in the catalogue by SUS then a number from 001, currently as far as 051. A separate list of these books is available.
Alvin Langdon Coburn
The library collection of works by and relating to Alvin Langdon Coburn has been catalogued (Prefix CC) and is stored apart from the main library.
The library has a developing archive of items found in books, e.g letters from authors, booksellers, photographs, newspaper cuttings. These are numbered according to the accession number of the book in which they were found and a description of each item can be seen on the library computer (Catalogue of Ephemera). A further collection of items of interest (e.g. photocopies of talks, journal articles, handwritten notes) has been catalogued (Prefix ARCH) and is kept in store.
Searching the catalogue
The catalogue may be accessed on the library computer using the Heritage Library Management System. Instructions on how to search the library catalogue are placed next to the library computer. There is also a paper version of the catalogue on the library table. Since this printed catalogue was produced, however, there have been a large number of amendments, so for the most up-to-date information, the computerized catalogue should be consulted
There are a number of reasons why a catalogued book may not be on the shelf. It might be on loan to another reader or it might have been removed for repair. Books kept in the Study are not on open access, but may be consulted with the permission of the librarian in certain circumstances.
The library loans book on the library table should be filled in for all books borrowed, giving the accession number, title, borrower’s full name and the date the book is borrowed. Returned books should be placed on the library table when the librarian is not in attendance.
The library is open on Wednesday afternoons 14.00 – 17.00 (whenever the house itself is open), and at other times by arrangement. From time to time special library events are also held. Extended opening times are also arranged to coincide with the retreat/study programme.