Papers of Robert Herbert Story, 1835-1907, Church of Scotland minister and Principal, University of Glasgow, Scotland, 1898-1907

Scope and Content

The collection consists mainly of correspondence on a wide variety of subjects, socio-political, religious, philanthropic, with numerous letters referring to his time as Principal of the University of Glasgow, 1832-1907. There are also papers and correspondence of his wife, Elma and daughter Helen Story.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Very Revd  Robert Herbert Story of Rosneath was born at Rosneath Manse, Rosneath, Argyll & Bute, Scotland, on 23 Feb  1835  , the fourth child of Robert Story, Minister of Rosneath, and Helen Boyle. He was educated at the  University of Edinburgh (  1849-1854  ), the University of Heidelberg in 1853 before going on to study Divinity at the University of Edinburgh and the  University of St Andrews (  1854-1857  ). He was awarded an Honorary Degree of LLD by the University of St Andrews.

Robert Story was licensed as a preacher by the Presbytery of Dumbarton ,West Dumbartonshire, Scotland on 2 Nov 1858 and served as Assistant Minister at St. Andrew's Church, Montreal, Canada in  1859  . He returned to Rosneath in February 1860 to become assistant to his father, but his father died shortly after his arrival home. The Patron, the Duke of Argyll presented him to the parish, and he was inducted as Minister at Rosneath, in succession to his father in  1860  , serving there until  1887  . In  1886  he was appointed Chaplain to Queen Victoria, an appointment which continued under King Edward. Other positions that he held were as Junior Clerk to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland from 1886; Moderator of the General Assembly in  1894  ; and Principal Clerk to the General Assembly from  1895-1907  . He favoured the views of Dr. Robert Lee on the ordering of public worship and, with two others, founded the Church Service Society, which was a major influence in transforming the observance of public worship in Scotland. In April 1886 he delivered the first lecture in memory of Robert Lee at St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, on the subject of The Reformed Ritual in Scotland .

From 1885-1889 Story edited a magazine first called The Scottish Church and then The Scots Magazine . He was Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the  University of Glasgow from  1886-1898  , and succeeded  John Caird as Principal of the University in 1898. As Principal, one of his chief goals was to see the extension of the University and the provision of better equipment. To this end he established a fund which by 1906 had raised the sum of å£75,000. From this fund å£20,000 was donated towards the cost of building a new Physics Laboratory, the Natural Philosophy Building, in  1907  - the building currently known as the Kelvin Building. A further å£20,000 from this fund was given for a new building to house the departments of Physiology, Materia Medica, Forensic Science, and Public Health, also in 1907 - now known as the West Medical Building. He died on 13 Jan  1907  , before these new buildings were completed.


The collection is survey listed. The letters are chronologically arranged from items 1-127 with undated letters from 128-162, letters in an album 162-195 and other material including university class tickets 196-319.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Received prior to the introduction of formal accessioning procedures

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom. Manual file level list available at the National Register of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)2806) and London (NRA 30488), .

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0248 procedures

Custodial History



None expected

Related Material

GB 0248 GUA records of the University of Glasgow. Correspondence with Lord Kelvin, 1849-1907, Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Library (GB0012). For contact details of all repositories with a GB code see the Archon repository search page, at the Historical Manuscripts Commission.

Location of Originals

This material is original


GB 248 DC21/319 G E R Young, Pamphlet - 'Elma and Helen Story: A Recollection'(1948)

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives,ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999 and National Council on Archives,Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Compiled by Moira MacKay, Assistant Archivist & Virginia Russell, Archives Assistant, July 1997