Mr George Reid was born in Dunfermline in 1840 to a handloom linen weaver. He rose in his uncle’s company, Messrs Andrew Reid & Co from being a commercial clerk in a linen factory in 1861 to being a linen damask manufacturer in 1881. Dogged by ill health he retired early and spent most of his time travelling abroad looking for and acquiring medieval and unusual books. He was regarded by his employees as a model employer and contributed financially to Dunfermline life in the Canmore Street Congregational Church and the Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital as well as being an active member of the Fine Art Association. .
A keen antiquarian George Reid donated many items to the Dunfermline Museum and Archaeological Society which was housed at that time in Pittencrieff House. In 1902 he sent 67 books to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, his books formed the nucleus, along with other donations, for the National Art Library held at the V&A.
On his death in 1910 George Reid left a remainder of his books to Dunfermline and in 1921 the George Reid collection were placed in the Special Collections room of the newly-extended Dunfermline Carnegie Library where they were on display until the library closed for refurbishment in 2013. Book conservation methods have changed over the years and because of the age and quality of the collection it has been decided to keep the books in our Archive store in ideal conditions for book conservation, bringing out the books individually for consultation or in celebration of a related special event.