Papers of Sir John MacDonald Kinneir of Sanda (1782-1830

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-798
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English, and Persian.
  • Physical Description
      1 volume manuscripts, 1 pouch miscellaneous, 1 volume printed material. Access to records in a fragile condition may be restricted.
  • Location
      Dk.2.37-38; Df.1.53

Scope and Content

The collection contains: the letter book of Sir John Macdonald Kinneir; and, contained in a leather pouch, papers relating to Persian affairs. The material includes loose maps, oriental documents, and news cuttings. Df.1.53 contains printed material.

Administrative / Biographical History

The traveller and diplomat John MacDonald Kinneir was born at Carnden, Linlithgow, on 3 February 1782. MacDonald was his father's name and Kinneir was his mother's name. He was to became a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Honourable East India Company's Civil Service. His career started with a cadetship in 1802 under the name of MacDonald which carried with him in the Indian army lists until his death. He was appointed ensign in the Madras infantry in 1804. He was a captain, lieutenant, then brevet lieutenant-colonel by 1818. He served in Malabar and in Persia, and he travelled from Baghdad via Mosul and Diarbekr to Istanbul, then to England via Spain and Portugal. He intended to return to India through Russia and Persia (Iran) via Stockholm, but the French retreat from Moscow enabled a more southerly route to be taken. His return travel took him to Poland, Austria, Hungary, Istanbul, Cyprus, Armenia, Kurdistan, Baghdad, and Bombay. Sir John MacDonald Kinneir died in Tabriz, Iran (then Persia) on 11 June 1830.

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) Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol. 11. Kennett-Lluelyn. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1909.

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 UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: 1824-26 : letters to Lord Amherst, British Library, Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections, Ref. MSS Eur F 140 NRA 28585 Amherst.