Miscellaneous material relating to Glasgow University

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-342
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
      English, and Latin.
  • Physical Description
      5 volumes, 1 notebook, 1 folder, 1 letter.
  • Location
      Dc.8.13; Dc.8.18; Dc.8.22; Dc.8.57; Dk.1.27; Gen. 566; Gen. 636; Gen. 1429/18/7

Scope and Content

The collection consists of: lectures on Aristotelian philosophy, 1667-1669; lectures on logic and metaphysics, 1692-1693; lectures taken down 1702; lectures on logic, 1773; lectures on logic and rhetoric, 1850-1851; letters relating to Glasgow University from 1790 to 1830; a short historical note about Glasgow University; a letter of Principal A. Davidson about the accounts of the William and Snell foundations, 21 December 1786; minutes of evidence from the Ramshorn 'resurrectionist' trial, and relating to lecturers and students, 1814; names of students in 1667-1668, 1702, listed on a fly-leaf of a volume of dictates; miscellaneous letters, 1764, 1766; correspondence of Sir. J. Struthers on parliamentary representation and elections, 1868, 1876; and, letter from the Secretary of the General Council, 22 December 1909

Administrative / Biographical History

Glasgow University has its origins in Papal Bull dated 7 January 1451 obtained from Nicholas V by Bishop William Turnbull (c. 1400-1454) during the reign of James II. After an early period of uncertainty, the University was re-established with a new charter - Nova Erectio - in 1577.

The seventeenth century saw the University flourish and new buildings were constructed in the city's High Street as it became an internationally important place of study. Between 1710 and 1716, the philosopher Frances Hutcheson (1694-1746) studied there, and he became Professor of Moral Philosophy in 1729. The chemist Joseph Black (1728-1799) studied both at Glasgow and Edinburgh and later held posts at both Universities. The economist and philosopher Adam Smith (1723-1790) also studied at Glasgow University and in 1751 he became Professor of Logic there, and then was appointed Professor of Moral Philosophy in 1752.

By the end of the eighteenth century, Glasgow University rivalled Oxford and Cambridge in the number of students it could attract, and into the nineteenth century it established an additional reputation for quality scientific and medical training and research. Both the scientist and inventor William Thomson, Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), and surgeon Lord Joseph Lister (1827-1912), were professors at the University - the former was Professor of Natural Philosophy from 1846, and the latter Professor of Surgery from 1860.

The University's High Street buildings were demolished in the 1870s after the institution moved to very large neo-Gothic buildings on the city's Gilmorehill. These Victorian buildings were designed by Gilbert Scott in 1870 and completed by his son Oldrid Scott in 1887-1891. Today Glasgow University is one of the largest in Britain.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Struthers correspondence, purchased April 1961, Accession no. E62.20. Lectures on Logic and Rhetoric, received 1963, Accession no. E63.6. Diploma to Appleton, received 1966, E66.35. Letters to Professor J. Black, received April 1967, Accession no. E67.7. Letter on William and Snell foundations, and on dispute with Balliol, purchased June 1971, Accession no. E71.21.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Keay, John and Keay, Julia (eds.). Collins encyclopaedia of Scotland. London: Harper Collins, 1994. (2) Mackie, J. D. The University of Glasgow 1451-1951. A short history. Glasgow: Jackson, Son and Co., 1954.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show many references to Glasgow University material in the Laing Collection (check the Indexes for more details) including: circa 60 items from 1696-1790 in La.II.99; letter from Professor Dunlop to Principal Carstares, 1709, at La.II.407; letters and documents concerning dispute with Balliol College, Oxford, 1738-1787, at La.II.99; letter of professor Rouet, 1756, and letter of praise about the University, 1807, at La.II.511; commonplace book, probably belonging to James Moor, 1770, at La.III.567; extract records from 1777 on appointment of representative at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, La.II.252; letters on the education of divinity students, La.III.352/1; a special commission, 1826, La.II.492; diplomas of M.A., 1619, 1696, 1700 at La.II.228, and La.Charter 2940, 2985; diploma awarded to Sir. E.V.Appleton, Principal of Edinburgh University, 1950, PC.61/9; miscellaneous lectures, 1670s, 1690s, in La.III; salary receipts at La.II.485; and, other miscellaneous letters La.IV.17. There is also correspondence between the University and Professor J. Black at: Gen. 873/1/17-19, 22-25; Gen. 874/VIII; and, Gen. 873/1/105-106. Also material in Sar. Coll.

In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: miscellaneous financial and other records, Glasgow University Archives and Business Records Centre, Ref. DC/132 NRA 31943 Haden-Guest; list of humanity classes by William Richardson, Professor of Humanity, 1773-1795, City of Glasgow, Mitchell Library, Ref. 34387 NRA 16655 Baillie's L; minutes of the Library Committee, 1838-1987, Glasgow University Library, Special Collections Department, see Annual Return 1997, and Library minute book, 1841-1844, Glasgow University Library, Special Collections Department, Ref. MS Gen 113, see information from website.

Corporate Names