The Agra Correspondence and Papers of Sir William Muir (1819-1905)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The Agra Correspondence of Sir William Muir consists of original manuscripts and typed transcripts relating to his career in the North-West Provinces of India, but in this case pertaining to 1857. The papers in the collection include letters to his wife from 1840 to 1895, letters of congratulations on the Muir's golden wedding, letters relating to the period 1813 to 1902, press cuttings, documents and the Annual reports. Miss Taylor's orphanage for Moslem and Druse girls, Beyrout, and other miscellaneous items.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Muir was born in Glasgow in 1819. He was educated at Kilmarnock Academy and then at Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities. After his university education he gained a post with the East India Company in the North-West Provinces of India. He entered the Bengal Civil Service in 1837 and became Secretary to the Governor of the North-West Provinces at Agra. His work, particularly during the Sepoy Mutiny (when he was in charge of the Intelligence Department) and his experience, influence, and writing on the history of Islam, led to his appointment in 1868 as Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Provinces. He had been created Knight Commander of the Star of India in 1867. Between 1874 and 1876 Muir was Financial Minister to the Government of India, and from 1876 to 1885 he was a Member of the Council of the Secretary of State for India. On leaving India he joined the Council of India in London but resigned on his appointment as Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh University in 1885. During his term of office, the University underwent many changes as a result of the Universities (Scotland) Act of 1889. Muir resigned in 1903 because of ill health and died at Dean Park House in Edinburgh on 11 July 1905.

Conditions Governing Access

Contact the repository for details

Other Finding Aids

An important finding aid is the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives. Additions to the typed slips in sheaf binders were made until 1987.

Related Material

The Index to Manuscripts shows references to correspondence and photographs at Dk.2.13-14., and to other miscellaneous letters.

Corporate Names