First published in 1977 and now reprinted in its original form, A Source-book of Scottish Witchcraft has been the most authoritative reference book on Scottish Witchcraft for almost thirty years. It has been invaluable to the specialist scholar and of interest to the general reader. It provides, but provides much more than, a series of lists of the 'names and addresses' of long-dead witches. However, although it is widely quoted and held in high esteem, few copies were ever printed and most are owned by libraries or similar institutions. Until now, it has been difficult to obtain and even more difficult to buy. In 1938, George F. Black, a Scotsman who was in charge of New York Public Library, published A Calendar of Cases of Witchcraft in Scotland 1510-1727. This was a fairly comprehensive compilation of brief accounts of references, in printed sources, to Scottish witchcraft cases. The Source-book built upon this study but went beyond it by including, through an examination of actual ancient manuscripts, information on previously unpublished cases.
It also presented the material in a more systematic way in relation, where known, to the names of the accused witches, their sex, their fate, the place of the case, its date and the type of court that dealt with it. Some such information is presented in the form of tables. Transcriptions of documents pertaining to witchcraft trials- such as examples of the evidence of supposed witnesses, and other salient legal documents - including, for instance, an ancient account of when and why the testimony of female witnesses might be legally acceptable in Scottish courts - are also presented.