Papers of John Kennedy, 1855-1910, and Alexander Cameron, 1827-1888, ministers of the Free Church of Scotland and Gaelic scholars

Scope and Content

The papers of John Kennedy include: 

  • The Fernaig Manuscript of Gaelic poems (MS Gen 85), 1688-1693;
  • Transcripts of Gaelic poetry from the McLagen manuscripts, 1897-1905;
  • Lecture notes made by John Kennedy on Gaelic and Scottish history;
  • Correspondence, 1908.

The Alexander Cameron papers, which were held by John Kennedy, include: 

  • Gaelic poetry transcriptions and translations;
  • Notes on Gaelic poetry and church history;
  • Notes on sermons preached by Dr John Love;
  • Miscellaneous papers relating to his church career;
  • Correspondence, 1860s-1880s.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Kennedy (1855-1910) was born in Alvie, Scotland, becoming a student of the University of Glasgow and the Free Church College, Glasgow. He became a minister of the Free Church of Scotland and then the United Free Church of Scotland at Lenimore and Pirnmill on the Isle of Arran. He was executor for Alexander Cameron, Celtic scholar, whose papers John held following his death and on whom he published 'Memoir of Dr Cameron' in Reliquiae Celticae: Texts, Papers and Studies in Gaelic Literature and Philology left by the late Rev. Alexander Cameron, LLD in 1892.

Alexander Cameron was born near Kingussie in 1827. After receiving his MA from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1852 he studied at New College, Edinburgh until 1856. He then became a missionary for the Free Church of Scotland, first being sent to Portnahaven, Isle of Islay, before becoming a minster in Renton, West Dunbartonshire, in 1855 and then at the Gaelic Church in Renton from 1859-1874. His final church was the Free Church of Scotland, Kilbride (Brodick), north Ayrshire from 1874-1888.

From 1886, Cameron was a lecturer in Gaelic at the Free Church College, Glasgow, until taking up a lectureship in Gaelic at the University of Glasgow from 1876-1880. A noted Celtic scholar, he was founder and editor of Scottish Celtic Review from 1881-1885, he died in Edinburgh in October 1888.

Sources: William Ewing, Annals of the Free Church of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1914); J A Lamb, The Fasti of the United Free Church of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1956)


The material has been arranged into two sections, one containing papers relating to John Kennedy and another relating to Alexander Cameron. Within these sections, items have been listed in the order in which they were received.

Access Information

Access is open, however an appointment may be required. Please email Archives and Special Collections for advice:

Acquisition Information

Gift : John Kennedy : 1910 : ACCN 2488

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents. Applications for permission to quote should be sent to Archives and Special Collections, please email:

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 247 procedures

Custodial History

Held by John Kennedy


None expected

Related Material

Cameron's collection of printed books was purchased after his death by Sir William Mackinnon and donated to Edinburgh University Library

Corporate Names