Records of Aberdeen Natural History Association

Scope and Content

Minutes of the Association, 1845 - 1851, containing list of members, rules and regulations, and detailed descriptions of observations made during field excursions to sites of local natural history interest. Enclosures include a motion to grant the Secretary, Dr. Smith, an Honorary Membership of the Association, prior to his leaving the country to take up the post of Professor of Chemistry and Philosophy at University College, Sydney.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Association was constituted on the 29 May 1845. It was founded upon the direction of William MacGillivray, Professor of Civil and Natural History at Marischal College, who sought to encourage an interest amongst his friends for the study of natural history in Aberdeen. Membership of the Association was open to persons who were known to have made some proficiency in the study of some branch of natural history, or to have attended a class of Zoology, Botany, Mineralogy, Geology, Anatomy, or Chemistry ... of good moral character and connected with some religious body (GB 231 MS 544).

Members met fortnightly, for excursion or ordinary meetings. Excursion meetings were arranged to places of local natural history interest, where members would collect, record and discuss the objects and processes observed. The ordinary meetings provided a forum where natural history papers were presented and discussed.

By February 1852, membership numbers had fallen sharply, and regular meetings had ceased. It is believed that the Association was wound up around this time and a second Natural History Society established a few years later. This Society was also short-lived, for in 1863 a third group was formed - The Natural History Society of Aberdeen. This survives today as the Natural History and Antiquarian Society of Aberdeen.

For further details about Aberdeen's Natural History Associations see H.J.H. Drummond, Records of Medical and Scientific Societies in Scotland; early medical and scientific societies of North East Scotland, Bibliotheck, 1 (1956), 31-33.


Single item

Conditions Governing Access

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

Acquisition Information

Deposited in the University Library in 1907, from the library of the late James Farquharson, D.D.

Other Finding Aids

Very brief collection level description available on Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online

Alternative Form Available

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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.

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This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures


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Related Material

Personal papers and lecture notes of William MacGillivray are also deposited in this repository; and printed transactions, 1869/9, 1878, 1885; rules, 1898; and papers, 1865 - 1927; of the Natural History Society of Aberdeen (later the Natural History and Antiquarian Society) are in the University Local collection.

Full reference details can be found on the University Library Catalogue


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Additional Information

This material is original

Geographical Names