Thomas Campbell

Scope and Content

Correspondence 1815-1843; copies of correspondence 1796-1853; manuscripts of published works c1841-1893; miscellaneous manuscript notes; miscellaneous notes n.d. -1914.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Campbell, poet, was born in Glasgow and educated at the Grammar School and University of his home city. After a brief period as a tutor in Mull, where he learned to love highland scenery, he went to Edinburgh to study law and there began to do miscellaneous literary work for the publishers Mundell & Co. He first gained fame by producing in 1799, at the age of twenty one, his principal poem The Pleasures of Hope. His other longer poems are Gertrude of Wyoming (1809), O'Connor's Child (1809) and Theodoric (1824). During a tour of the continent (1800-1801) Campbell produced some of his best known minor works and war lyrics such as Ye Mariners of England. In addition to poems and lyrics, he also wrote various compilations, including Annals of Great Britain, covering part of the reign of George III and was a distinguished critic. From 1820 to 1830 he was editor of the New Monthly Magazine.

After his marriage in 1803, Campbell settled in London, and in 1805 was granted a government pension for life. Around 1824 Campbell began agitating for a London University, the ideal for which was drawn from his visits to the continent, and he was one of the founders of University College. His interest in education as well as his eminence as an author were recognised by the students of Glasgow University, who elected him Lord Rector three times in succession between 1826-1829, the third time over no less a rival than his friend Sir Walter Scott. Campbell was also a great believer in the right of freedom and was a strong supporter of the Polish cause all his adult life. He died in Boulogne and is buried in Westminster Abbey's Poets'Corner.


Records are arranged chronologically within series.

Access Information

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation.

Acquisition Information

Details of the original accession are unknown. The University purchased some additional Campbell papers in 1983 (AccM/194).


Fonds level description compiled by Sarah Chubb, Archives Hub Project Archivist, August 2001.

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list. Subject source lists and databases are also available.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges are made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply.


None expected.

Related Material

Letters, manuscripts and other papers relating to Thomas Campbell are also held in the National Library of Scotland Manuscripts Division (MS 669, MS 1002, MS 1808, MS 2618, MS 2256-57, MS 3874-3916, MS 9814-35, MS 10256-370, MS 10997-8, Adv.MS.22.4.11 ff.1-17), Victoria & Albert Museum National Art Library (Forster Collection), City of Glasgow Mitchell Library (Numbered series no 75), Glasgow University Library Special Collections Department (MS.Gen.502; MS.Gen.1091), Huntington Library, Harvard University: Houghton Library (MSS Eng 1140, 1154), London University Library (MS 478), British Library Manuscript Collections (Add MS 40099, Add MS 51846-51849, Loan no. 96), Derbyshire Record Office (D2387/1/10-18), London University: University College London (UCL) Manuscripts Room (BROUGHAM BL, HB), Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts (Dep Lovelace Byron, MS Eng misc d 184), Yale University Libraries: Beinecke Library (44.214), Leeds University: Brotherton Library, Liverpool Record Office and Local History Service (Roscoe Papers 717-730, 5822).