The first recorded evidence of the existence of the Library dates from 1696, when provision was made for the "books and other certain rarities" in the new Hall of the Incorporation of Barbers and Chirurgeons being built in High School Yards. In 1699, the chirurgeon apothecaries announced in the Edinburgh Gazette that they were:
erecting a library of Physicall, Chirurgicall, Botanicall, Pharmaceuticall and other curious books…if any person have such to bestow let them give notice to …Treasurer to the Society…names will be honourably recorded..."
There were about 120 books in the Library when, in 1709, Thomas Kincaid donated his collection of nearly 200 books. His note about the gift said he thought it reasonable that he should do everything that lay in his way to advance the honour and promote the interests of the Society and being persuaded that a full and complete Library of such books as relate to the profession will not only be a good ornament to that stately fabrick (the 1697 building) ... but would also contribute towards the improving and protecting of this most useful and Necessary Art .
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