Papers of Professor Andrew Dalzel (1742-1806)

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-189
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 box-file (circa 108 letters), 6 letters.
  • Location
      Gen. 842; Gen. 1731 Dalzel; Dk.7.52; Dc.4.41/124; Dc.4.95/2, f.4; La.II.185; La.II.583; La.II.648/285

Scope and Content

The papers consist of: lectures on Greek, 1803-1804; a large amount of correspondence between Dalzel and his brother Archibald, 1763-1789; other correspondence, 1800, 1802, 1804, and undated; and a note. There are also class certificates, 1787, 1798, 1802, and 1804.

Administrative / Biographical History

The classical scholar Andrew Dalzel was born at Gateside on the Newliston estate, Kirkliston, West Lothian, on 6 October 1742. He was educated at the parish school in Kirkliston and then at Edinburgh University where he graduated with an M.A. It was intended that Dalzel then enter the church but after studying divinity he did not become licensed. On leaving the University he became the tutor to the Lauderdale family. Dalzel and his pupils attended lectures on civil law at Glasgow University and he assisted Alexander Adam, Rector of the Royal High School, in the preparation of a Latin grammar. In 1772 he was appointed joint Professor of Greek at Edinburgh University, and in 1779 he became sole Professor on the death of the co-holder Robert Hunter. When Dalzel was appointed, the teaching of Greek had reached a low point but he was soon successful in turning standards around and attracting students. In 1783 he assisted in the founding of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and in 1789 he obtained a grant of arms and a common seal for Edinburgh University which it had never previously possessed. Dalzel resigned his chair in 1805 and was succeeded by his assistant, George Dunbar (1774-1851). Professor Andrew Dalzel died on 8 December 1806.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Lectures purchased 1966, Accession no. E66.18. Certificate purchased March 1970, Accession no. E70.11. Certificate received February 1987, Accession no. E87.24.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Stephen, Leslie. and Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of national biography. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1908.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.

Related Material

The local Indexes show other references to Dalzel material (check the Indexes for more details): mention of a play written by him, 1771, at Dk.7.52/20-22; mention of his play, a prologue to Tamerlane, 1774, at Dk.7.52/43, 50; mention of the change in spelling of surname, at Dk.7.52/70; a mention of, 1784, at Dc.6.111, ff.17-18; a letter about his widow and children, 1809, at Dc.4.101-103. In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: correspondence with Robert Liston, 1765-1794, National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, Ref. MSS 5513-89.

Corporate Names