Manuscripts from the personal library of William Euing, 1788-1874, insurance broker, Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

Manuscripts from the personal library of William Euing. 13th-19th century

Administrative / Biographical History

William Euing was born in May 1788. He was educated in Glasgow, at the Grammar School before being sent to Glasgow College at the age of 13 where he attended the Humanity class. After 3 years at college William Euing bacame a clerk at the calendering firm of Inglis, Euing & Co. Following the retirement of Mr Inglis in 1906, Euing continued the firm until he sold it in 1815 due to ill health. Three years later he went into business as an insurance underwriter with his cousin, William Smith, later Lord Provost of Glasgow, being his first underwriter.

As an underwriter William Euing achieved great success. He was involved with the Association of Underwriters for 34 years, an association that was in its infancy when he joined and a flourishing institution by the time he resigned in 1859.

As well as underwriting, Euing taught young men from home or in his office, and was heavily involved in charity work, giving away large sums of money and founding the Glasgow Sailors' Home. A patron of the arts, he had a love of music throughout his life and a life-long devotion to literature. His library was collected with the definite object of educating himself and of helping to educate others and was no haphazard collection of rare and expensive books.

Within his library he held a large collection of Glasgow printed books, especially Foulis' classics. Specimens of the printing of all ages and countries abounded in fine examples of Uries and Foulises of Glasgow, of Ruddemans of Edinburgh, Rabans of Aberdeen, of early English printing, and the fine classics of Aldus of Venice, Jannon of Sedan, the Elzevirs of Leyden, Barbour of Paris, and the Badoni press of Parma. A valuable yet small collection of ballad literature was collected along with a large number of bibles; the English bible being a specialist area of interest to Euing. All of these were left to the University of Glasgow upon his death.

Euing's music library was of particular interest and value, consisting of treatises, histories and essays on music and singing; printed music such as operas, cantatas, glees, madrigals, oratorios, masses, and psalms. The collection was bequeathed to Anderson's University, Glasgow, along with a sum of money to build a fireproof strong room for their storage and money to endow a Chair in Music. The collection was transferred to the University of Glasgow in 1932.

Music was a passion of Euing and he formed a glee and madrigal club in Glasgow that met at six o'clock in the morning, leading to their nickname of 'The Glasgow Larks'.

Well travelled, Euing had visited every country in Europe except for Turkey, and when he died in 1874 at the age of 86, the minutes of the Association of Underwriters record the esteem in which he was help by his peers.

Source: Memoirs & Portraits of One Hundred Glasgow Men, vol I (Glasgow: James Maclehose & Son, 1886).

Access Information

Access is open, however an appointment may be required. Please email Archives and Special Collections for advice:

Acquisition Information

Gift : William Euing : December 1874 : ACCN 0734, 2423

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents. Applications for permission to quote should be sent to Archives and Special Collections, please email:

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 247 procedures

Custodial History

The Euing Music Library was originally bequeathed to Anderson's College, later the Royal Technical College, now the University of Strathclyde. The majority of the material was received directly by bequest from William Euing.


Transfer : Royal Technical College : 1936 : ACCN 0961