Records of Robert Wilson's Trust

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 231 MS 3390 and GB 231 MS U 1083
  • Dates of Creation
      1862 - 1986
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      GB 231 MS 3390: 11 boxes and 1 volume; GB 231 MS 3390: 11 boxes and 1 volume; GB 231 MS U 1083: 2 boxes No physical characteristics affecting use of collection

Scope and Content

GB 231 MS 3390 Personal papers of and relating to Robert Wilson and the establishment of Robert Wilson's Trust, 1862 - 1874; trustees' minutes, containing details of contents and additions to the anthropological museum, 1871 - 1986; trustees' accounts and investments, 1871 - 1920; receipts, 1871 - 1922; insurance policies, 1883 - 1922; correspondence, 1871 - 1922; reports to trustees, 1881 - 1934; papers re. Wilson memorial monument and museum, 1862 - 1973.

GB 231 MSU 1083 Personal papers, 1805 - 1844, and miscellaneous financial papers, 1805 - 1844, of Robert Wilson; papers re. establishment of Robert Wilson's Trust, including executry papers and copies of testamentary documents, 1860 - 1872; vouchers subsidiary to the Robert Wilson Trust Account, 1875 - 1881, 1893 - 1895; reports presented to the trustees, 1881, 1883, 1895; papers of Principal Geddes, regarding the Trust, the museum and Wilson coin collection, 1878 - 1882; miscellaneous printed papers relating to the Trust, 1872 - 1900, including advertisements and responses for the Wilson Travelling Scholarship, 1872 - 1892, and re-prints of articles by J.G.C. Anderson, Wilson Travelling Fellow, regarding excavations in Asia Minor, 1898 - 1900.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Wilson's Trust was created in 1871 under the terms of his will, to establish an anthropological museum in the buildings at Marischal College, Aberdeen, and to administer funds for a scholarship in archaeology at the University of Aberdeen (later, the Wilson Travelling Fellowship). Wilson (1787 - 1871), of Glenairnie, Morayshire, spent his early career as ship's surgeon with the Honourable East India Company, c. 1805 - 1809, travelled extensively in Europe and Asia, 1816 - 1822, and later, 1824 -1826, became private secretary to Lord Hastings, Governor General of Malta. He assembled a large library and extensive museum at Glenairnie House, which were bequeathed to the University after his death, the contents of his museum forming the basis of the new Wilson Archaeological Studio (later, becoming the Anthropological Museum, and presently, Marischal Museum)

A motion to wind up the trust and transfer its whole assets to the University of Aberdeen Development Trust, to be devoted to the Phase II refurbishment of the Anthropological Museum in Marischal College, was passed on 12 Mar 1986.

See H. Hargreaves, Dr Robert Wilson, Aberdeen University Review, 43 (1970), 374 - 384.


None observed - listing for GB 231 MS 3390 is on-going

Conditions Governing Access

Open, subject to signature accepting conditions of use at reader registration sheet

Acquisition Information

GB 231 MS 3390 deposited in the University in 1992, via Ledingham Chalmers, Solicitors and Estate Agents, Aberdeen. GB 231 MS 3390 deposited in the University in 1992, via Ledingham Chalmers, Solicitors and Estate Agents, Aberdeen. GB 231 MS U 1083 deposited in 1984, by Edmonds&Ledingham, solicitors

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list of GB 231 MS U 1083 available in the Reading Room, Special Libraries and Archives, University of Aberdeen.

Very brief collection level description for both deposits is available on Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online

Alternative Form Available

No copies known

Conditions Governing Use

Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation.

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Special Libraries and Archives (e-mail: and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures

Custodial History

The records remained in the custody of Edmonds & Ledingham (later, Ledingham Chalmers), the firm of solicitors which was responsible for the administration of Robert Wilson's affairs in his last years, and the establishment and management of the Robert Wilson Trust, from creation until their deposit in the University.


No accruals expected

Related Material

Papers of Robert Wilson (1787 - 1871), 1803 - 1855 (GB 231 MS 0413 - 0443). This collection contains detailed, illustrated travel journals, recording Wilson's antiquarian and archaeological expeditions throughout Europe and Asia, 1816 - 1855, and his voyages as ship's surgeon with the Honourable East India Company, 1805 - 1807. There are also miscellaneous personal papers relating to his home and family in Morayshire, Scotland, and to his varied leisure interests.

The Wilson Collection is one of several named library collections administered by Special Libraries and Archives (ref. WN). Comprising the contents of Robert Wilson's library, bequeathed to the University in 1871, it is particularly rich in travel material along with smaller collections in history, archaeology, literature and medicine, dating principally from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but also including a two-colour printed edition of Ptolemy, Liber geographiae (Venice, 1511). A collection level description of the library is available from the Historic Collections home page

Marischal Museum, successor to the Wilson Archaeological Studio, continues to care for and build upon the anthropological collections which were bequeathed to the University by Wilson in 1871. Further details are available from the Historic Collections home page


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original