Papers of George Goudie Chisolm (1850-1930)

Scope and Content

The Papers of George Goudie Chisolm include dictates of Professor Masson (Rhetoric and the History of English Literature) taken by Chisolm; other notes and essays on a variety of geographical topics; calculations and statistics; terms and notes for his Gazetteer (1895); notes on the construction of maps for Handbook of commercial geography (1889); and, notes, queries, and heads of paragraphs for his school geographies. There are also detailed notes for a series of lectures for his course on commercial geography and history; notes for his honours course at Edinburgh University, 1910; diary of teaching, exams etc., Edinburgh University and Moray House, 1910-18; student class marks, 1898-1901; and, various other notes and lecture notes.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Goudie Chisolm was born in Edinburgh on 1 May 1850. He was educated at the city's Royal High School, and studied at the University of Edinburgh where he graduated MA in 1870. He had a gift for languages and was able to function in Latin, Greek, French, German and Italian. He started out on a literary career working in the editorial department of publishers W.G. Blackie & Son (Glasgow). Chisolm left for London in 1881, and apart from taking the degree of B.Sc. in Natural Sciences in Edinburgh in 1883, London was to be his home until 1908. Specialising in Geography, he became a University Extension Lecturer, and established for himself a solid reputation in the subject. With the setting up of a Lectureship in Geography at Edinburgh University in 1908, Chisolm was the obvious choice. He became Reader in 1921. His first geographical work was The two hemispheres (1882). Around the same time, the Royal Geographical Society had come to realise that Geography was badly neglected in Britain in comparison to European countries, both in the universities and in schools. Chisolm however was already prepared for the task of advancing the status of the subject. A series of school geographies was prepared, and a school atlas. Other more ambitious works were Handbook of commercial geography (1889), and Gazetteer of the world (1895) which later became known as The Times gazetteer. Chisolm retired from Edinburgh University in 1923. He had long been the Secretary of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. George Goudie Chisolm died in Edinburgh on 9 February 1930.

Access Information

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Other Finding Aids

Handlist, H68; Another important finding aid is the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives. Additions to the typed slips in sheaf binders were made until 1987.

Related Material

The Index to Manuscripts shows a reference to notes of lectures on Geology by Professor Geikie taken down by Chisolm, at Dc.10.22-23.