Papers of Alexander Thomson, of Banchory

Scope and Content

This collection contains the manuscript volumes from Alexander Thomson's library. It includes tour journals from his travels in Britain and Europe, 1818 - 1863, and a small selection of other personal papers, including commonplace books, 1816, 1819 and 1827; notes of sermons, 1818 - 1819; and a catalogue of Banchory House library, Jul 1864. The minute book of Banchory Farmer Friendly Society, 1776 - 1866, and extracts from Kirk Sessions and other ecclesiastical records of Aberdeen, 1562 - 1622, made in 1696 by Robert Davidson, are also present.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alexander Thomson of Banchory-Devenick (1792-1868), a graduate twice of Marischal College (MA 1816, LLD 1855) pursued a variety of subjects including law, mathematics, language and literature, botany, geology and zoology. He travelled widely with his family in Europe, especially in Italy and France. His very wide-ranging interests, particularly on Victorian social and educational issues, are well represented in his library of c. 1600 books, and 6,000 pamphlets, bequeathed to the Free Church College, Aberdeen, after his death, and now deposited as a named collection in the University Library.


Arranged by record type, and chronologically therein

Conditions Governing Access

Open, subject to signature accepting conditions of use at reader registration sheet

Acquisition Information

Deposited in the University in Oct 1986, by Dr Henry Sefton, Master of Christ's College, Aberdeen.



Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list available in the Reading Room, Special Libraries and Archives, University of Aberdeen. Contents of this list are searchable on-line at via the Historic Collections database.

Very brief collection level description available on Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online

Alternative Form Available

No copies known

Conditions Governing Use

Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation.

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Special Libraries and Archives (e-mail: and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures

Custodial History

Alexander Thomson's library was bequeathed to the Free Church College, Aberdeen, with directions that it be made over to the University should that College cease to be recognised by the Free Church for the training of its ministers. It descended to its successor, Christ's College, by which it was transferred to the custody of the University of Aberdeen around 1960. Manuscript volumes were deposited in the University Archives as GB 231 MS 3244 in 1986.


No accruals expected

Related Material

GB 231 MS 2829 Catalogue of the library of Alexander Thomson (1798-1868), of Banchory, author, as bequeathed to Free Church College, Aberdeen, 189 p. .

Printed books and pamphlets from Alexander Thomson's library are maintained as separate named collections by the University: The Thomson of Banchory collection of books (TB) and Thomson of Banchory collection of pamphlets (Thomson). Further details are available from the Historic Collections home page


George Smeaton, Memoir of Alexander Thomson of Banchory (Edinburgh: Edmonston & Douglas, 1869)

Charles Hunt, 'Alexander Thomson: gentleman and collector', The Deeside Field, 18 (1984), 98-103

Additional Information

This material is original