Letters of Alexander Keith (1791-1880)

Scope and Content

The manuscript letters include: correspondence with John Murray, 1832; correspondence with his publisher about a new edition of Evidence of the truth of the Christian religion from the fulfilment of prophecy, 1847; and, letter to an unnamed woman, 1836.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alexander Keith, writer on prophecy, was born in Aberdeenshire on 30 November 1791. He was educated at Marischal College (now part of Aberdeen University) and at Aberdeen University, from 1805 to 1809. He was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Garioch in 1813 and was ordained at St. Cyrus, Kincardineshire in 1816. In 1839 he was sent by the Church of Scotland to participate in a commission of inquiry into the state of the Jews, which required a visit to Palestine and eastern Europe. He again visited Palestine in 1844 with his physician son, George. In 1843, Keith ceased to be a Minister of the established Church of Scotland, and joined the secessionist Free Church of Scotland. He repeatedly turned down offers of the Moderatorship of the Free Church. His publications include Sketch of the evidence of prophecy (1823), Evidence of the truth of the Christian religion from the fulfilment of prophecy (1828), The signs of the times, illustrated by the fulfilment of historical predictions (1832), The land of Israel according to the covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob (1843), The harmony of prophecy (1851). Alexander Keith died in Buxton, Derbyshire, on 8 February 1880. He was buried at Chinley, Chapel-en-le-Frith.

Access Information

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


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol.10. Howard-Kenneth. 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.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.