Papers of William Dunlop (ca.1649-1700)

Scope and Content

The collection is composed of the correspondence and papers of Dunlop, spanning the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. There is also a copy of The genealogies of the present noble families in Scotland, as they are ranked in the rolls of Parliament, 1701.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Dunlop was born in the middle of the seventeenth century and was the son of the Rev. Alexander Dunlop of Paisley. With close family connections to prominent Presbyterians, Dunlop too involved himself with the ministry and became a licentiate of the Church of Scotland. In these turbulent times, he emigrated to the Carolinas combining the functions of soldier and chaplain. He returned to Scotland after the Glorious Revolution 1688-1689, first being offered the appointment of Minister of Ochiltree, and then in Paisley. At the same time, in 1690, the office of Principal of the University of Glasgow fell vacant and it was given to him by William III (William of Orange) who was himself indebted to Dunlop's brother-in-law William Carstares (1649-1715). As an additional mark of favour, Dunlop was made Historiographer for Scotland in 1693. As Principal, he made great efforts to turn the University around from its dilapidated state. He was also a director of the Darien Company into which the University had invested some five hundred pounds of its funds. When the Darien scheme collapsed, he was able to use his experience as a planter in the Carolinas to assist the Company in some small way. William Dunlop died in March 1700.

Access Information

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


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Stephen, Leslie. and Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol. 6. Drant-Finan. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1908.

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.

Related Material

The local Indexes show various references to Dunlop material (check the Indexes for more details) in the Laing Collection: a volume of The genealogies of noble families of Scotland at La.III.305; and, a mention of Dunlop in letters, at La.III.355. In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: correspondence and papers, National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, Ref. MSS 9250-70, and family correspondence and papers; and, miscellaneous papers, 1692-1698, Glasgow University Library, Special Collections Department.

Corporate Names