Papers of Andrew Lang

Scope and Content

The papers include manuscript and typescript works, as well as a large body of correspondence between Lang and members of his family and others, as well as photographs and other miscellanea.

Administrative / Biographical History

Papers relating to Andrew Lang (1844-1912), the well-known folklorist and author of five books of poetry and two novels as well as several children's books. He is an alumnus of the University of St Andrews (1861-63). He is remembered as a scholar for translations of Homer, as a historian, an anthropologist, biographer, editor and essayist.

He was the son of the Sheriff-Clerk of Selkirkshire. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy and the Universities of St Andrews and Glasgow. He won a Snell Exhibition to Balliol College, Oxford and graduated with a first in Greats in 1868, becoming a Fellow of Merton College, researching in anthropology there until 1874. At Oxford he was associated with the Rondelier group of poets.

He went to London in 1875 and lived there for most of his life, spending his winters in St Andrews in later years. He married Leonore Blanche Alleyne on 17 April 1875. He became one of the best-known journalists of his day, writing leaders for the Daily News and a column called "At the Sign of the Ship" for Longman's Magazine. His friends included Robert Louis Stevenson (whom he first met while they were both invalids on the Riviera) and WE Henley. As a critic he was hostile to the novels of Henry James (1843-1916) and Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), but was one of the first to recognise the talent of George Douglas Brown. He died in Banchory in July 1912.

Access Information

By appointment with the Archivist. Access to unpublished records less than 30 years old and other records containing confidential information may be restricted.


There is further Lang material (autograph manuscripts and notes) at various manuscript locations, including: correspondence: 1889-91, ms37766/78-91; 1883-1911, ms30257; 1890s-1911, msPR4876.C7; letters to Sir William Alexander Craigie, 1893-1912 ms36862-36914;

Lang book collection: developed by the Library during the 20th century from existing stock, with additional purchases from time to time. It totals over 430 volumes of works by and edited by Andrew Lang and is strong in his first editions. The collection was greatly augmented by a bequest of over 200 volumes from Roger Lancelyn Green in 1989.

Description compiled by Rachel Hart, Archives Hub Project Archivist. Source used in the Admin/Biog history: Andrew Crumey, Scottish Writers, (2000)

Other Finding Aids

Green bequest: hard copy list available. Other material: hard copy index entries only.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Custodial History

Part of the collection was bequeathed, along with a large collection of books, to the Library by Lang's biographer, Roger Lancelyn Green (1892-1987), accessioned in 1991. Other items have been acquired by gift and purchase.

Related Material

Many entries in the general index to the manuscript collections, including GB 227 ms30130-42, Contributions to St Leonard's Magazine, 1865-6 by Andrew Lang.


Marysa Demoor, Andrew Lang (1844-1912); late Victorian humanist and journalistic critic, with a descriptive checklist of the Lang letters, 2 vols. Typescript thesis for the degree of D.Phil, Ryksuniversiteit Gent (1982-1983), available for consultation in the Special Collections Department.

Additional Information

This material is original.