Papers of Margaret Scott Gatty

Scope and Content

4 albums of mounted marine botanical specimens compiled by Margaret Scott Gatty. Also a small quantity of family correspondence, 1 early carte de visite photographic image and a quantity of 20th century manuscript biographical material relating to Margaret Scott Gatty.

Administrative / Biographical History

Margaret Scott Gatty (1809-1873) was the daughter of the Reverend Alexander Scott (1786-1840), noted as having been Nelson's chaplain at the battle of Trafalgar. Margaret showed a strong talent for art and became a skilled manuscript illuminator and copper etching artist. In 1839, she married the Reverend Alfred Gatty (d.1903). He was vicar of Ecclesfield, near Sheffield (Yorkshire) and Sub-dean of York Minster. He was also cousin to Charles Henry Gatty, the benefactor of the Gatty Marine Laboratory at St Andrews.

Both Margaret Scott Gatty and the Reverend Alfred Gatty were published authors. The Reverend Alfred Gatty published a number of theological works while Margaret Scott Gatty became an extremely successful author of children's books. Foremost amongst these were the groundbreaking Parables from Nature series as well as the popular Aunt Judy's Magazine.

Margaret Scott Gatty also wrote a number of other works on various subjects. The most notable of these were The history of British Sea Weeds and The Book of British Sundials. These were published in 1863 and 1872 respectively and remain classic standard texts in their fields.

Of their eight children, four were notable in their own right. These were: Alfred Scott-Gatty (b.1847): knight, Garter King of Arms at the College of Arms (London), planner of various major Royal ceremonials; Juliana Horatia Ewing (1841-1885): eminent children's author; Stephen Herbert Gatty (b.1849): knight, British colonial judge; Charles Gatty: author and amateur archaeologist.


  • ms38224: 4 albums of mounted marine botanical specimens, 1822 - ca.1880.
  • ms338340 /1 (part): Margaret Scott Gatty biography and related correspondence, undated and ca.1989. These items are:
    i: M S Laverack, 'A Victorian Lady': biography of Margaret Scott Gatty, undated, ca.1989 [2 drafts, 1 with autograph annotations];
    ii: correspondence between Captain A H Swann (Gatty descendant by marriage) and M S Laverack regarding this biography and the gifting of ms38224, 1989.
  • ms38359: This comprises the following items:
    1: Margaret Scott Gatty correspondence, 1858 - 1864: 4 autograph letters signed from Margaret Scott Gatty regarding i: collecting botanical specimens; ii: her profile as a naturalist; iii: meeting Alfred Lord Tennyson; iv: her study of sundials. This letter includes as autograph diagram of a wall-mounted sundial; v: sending an autograph to a fan.
    2: 1 carte de visite, probably of Margaret Scott Gatty, possibly ca.1864; Item is a card-mounted mounted Albumen print [damaged];
    3: Other family correspondence, ca.1870 - 1913:
    i: 1 autograph letter signed from Horatia Gatty (afterwards Horatia Ewing) to a Miss Bragge, undated, ca.1870, regarding sending her mother's autograph; ii: 1 autograph letter signed from the Reverend Alfred Gatty to a Mr Bragge, 1872, requesting on his wife's behalf the renewed loan of a previously-borrowed volume on emblems; iii: 1 autograph letter signed from Sir Alfred Scott-Gatty to a Mr Hagwood, 1913, regarding "Medicine Jack", a song composed by Sir Alfred Scott Gatty, ca.1868. The letter also refers to Mr ASG's acquaintance with Mr Hagwood's father [not named].

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. Special conditions apply to photographs.

Acquisition Information

ms38224: Gifted from the estate of Rachel Smith, a descendant of Margaret Scott Gatty, in 1990;
ms38340: Items gifted from the estate of Professor M S Laverack in 1996 and also items received from Professor Adrian Horridge, both former directors of the Gatty;
ms38359: Purchased by the library in 1997.


1: ms38224 /4 dates from ca.1850 to ca.1880. Margaret Scott Gatty passed away in 1873. As the item remained within the family until 1990, it is presumed that either her husband or child/ren continued to add to the album after her death.

2: ms37098 /60 is a letter from Horatia K F Eden, another of Margaret Scott Gatty's children, to W C McIntosh, dated 1906. In this, she gifts a number of her mother's mounted marine botany albums to the Gatty. .None of these albums could be identified from among the mounted marine botany albums in this collection in February 2003.

Description compiled by Rachel Hart, Archives Hub Project, based on text supplied by Meic Pierce Owen, HOST project archivist.

Other Finding Aids

The collection has been listed as part of the RSLP-sponsored History of Science and Technology project, 2000-2002 and the list is available on the manuscripts database of the University of St Andrews Special Collection Department.

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. Special conditions apply to photographs.

Custodial History

Acquired by gift and purchase.

Related Material

GB 227 ms36344-7; ms37097-37120, ms38206; ms38225, ms37816-37821 and other locations, Papers of Professor W C McIntosh.