Papers of Thomas Constable, 1812-1881, printer and publisher

Scope and Content

Presentation slip from Thomas Constable to Robert Walker, 1873 (pasted in copy of T Constable, Archibald Constable and his Literary Correspondents [1873].

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Constable, printer and publisher, was born at Craigcrook, near Edinburgh, on 29 June  1812 . He learned the business of a printer in London, and successfully established his own position in Edinburgh soon after starting business there. On 07 September  1839  he was appointed Her Majesty's printer and publisher in Edinburgh. He purchased the copyright of Dr.  Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847 ) works shortly after his death in  1847 , and although a loss-maker his business continued. About 1854 his popular series of schoolbooks known as Constable's Educational Series began; and about ten years later his Constable's Foreign Miscellany started, consisting of translations of important foreign works in general literature, but this did not work so well. In  1860  he ceased the publishing business, and in his later years he concentrated on his own literary works, including his life of his father, Archibald Constable and his Literary Correspondents (1873 ), and some private memoirs. He died on 26 May  1881 . His wife was Lucia Anne, daughter of Alexander Cowan, papermaker, Valleyfield, near Edinburgh. His son, Archibald, became partner with him in business in  1865 , and received the appointment of printer to Her Majesty in  1869 , the business being carried on under the designation of Thomas & Archibald Constable, printers to the queen and to the university of Edinburgh.


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

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Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Manager, Library Liaison and Training.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 559 procedures

Custodial History




Related Material

Papers, National Library of Scotland, Manuscript Collections Reference: 7908 [NRA(S)0263] NRA 10786 Constable; Correspondence, 1842-1844: National Library of Scotland, Manuscript Collections Reference: MSS 3052, 3109.

Location of Originals

This material is original


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Fonds level description compiled by H M Kemp and Alan Borthwick, Scottish Archive Network project, 10 May 2002.

Geographical Names