William Smellie’s papers consist of correspondence with friends, family and business associates; manuscripts of his own works on natural history; reviews; prefaces and satirical pieces.
His own papers range from 1759 to 1795, but the collection also contains letters, 1795 -1820, to Alexander Smellie, mostly concerning his father’s biography. Personal correspondents include Dr Samuel Charteris, writing about religious and philosophical subjects, Lord Buchan concerning the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and Maria Riddell. There are also letters from well-known contemporary figures such as Thomas Pennant, Lord Hailes and Principal William Robertson.
A finding list of the archive was created by Stephen W. Brown in 1998 and revised by Elspeth Yeo in 2011. A fuller listing with transcripts by Stephen Brown is held in the library collection (Acc. 186864).