Papers of John Abercromby, 5th Lord Abercromby of Aboukir and Tullibody

Scope and Content

The collection holds a 19th century Irish manuscript with covering letter dated 1884. There are a large number of letters and postcards spanning the years 1881 to 1916. The collection also consists of notebooks on archaeological, philological and linguistic topics; drawings of archaeological artefacts; bundles of studies for The Pre- and Proto-Historic Finns; material on the tabulation of Finnish folk tales; printed items, notes, photographs of the Canary Islands; material including photographs, press cuttings, notes on A study of the Bronze age pottery of Great Britain and Ireland and its associated grave-goods. There are inventories of household effects at several addresses, and a box containing material relating to the Hon. Ralph Abercromby (John Abercromby's brother). In addition to a number of photograph albums of views, features and acquaintances, there are five plan chests of unsorted material, mainly illustrative, and also including a folder of material relating to the Hon. Ralph Abercromby.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Abercromby was born 15 January 1841. He entered the army in 1858, retiring as Lieutenant, Rifle Brigade in 1870. Abercromby was an archaeologist and linguist, and was vice-president of the Folklore Society, an ex-president of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and an honorary member of the Finno-Ougrian Society, Helsinki, and of the Finnish Archaeological Society. He published A trip through the Eastern Caucasus, the two volume The Pre- and Proto-Historic Finns (1898), and the two volume A study of the Bronze age pottery of Great Britain and Ireland and its associated grave-goods (1912). He died in 1924. After Abercromby's death, the Library of the University of Edinburgh was bequeathed some 2,500 volumes of his, mostly on archaeological, ethnological and philological subjects. By his will too, in 1927, a Chair of Prehistoric Archaeology was created at the University of Edinburgh.

Access Information

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Other Finding Aids

Handlist, H55