Collection of Early 19th century Broadsides (1830-1835)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Many of the works in the Collection of Broadsides lampoon different political figures associated with the Reform Bills, the Burgh Reform Bill, and other pieces of reform legislation of the day. Some are of topical but non-political interest, and many are printings of traditional and literary ballads and songs.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Collection of Early 19th century Broadsides have been pasted into a foolscap minute-book of the West Port Yearly Society. The broadsides are printed, and form a scrapbook of ballads which are not to be found in other collections. All of the broadsides were printed between 1831 and 1835, mostly in Edinburgh, but seven were printed in Reading, England, during the same period. It is unclear why these were included in a clearly Scottish - if not Edinburgh - collection, but it should be noted that some of the seven were unrecorded by the Local Studies Librarian of Reading Public Library until a set of photocopies were sent there. It is also possible that some of the longsheets from which the ballads in the middle section of the volume were cut, were English in origin. It is not clear who assembled the Collection, but the methods employed by the anonymous collector seem dubious. Most of the broadsides have been cropped close to the text thus destroying decorative woodcuts, printers' imprints and, in some cases, original footnotes. In addition, almost all of the manuscript minutes of the West Port yearly Society have been obliterated.

Conditions Governing Access

Contact the repository for details

Acquisition Information

The Collection of Broadsides was presented to by Dr. Francis Collinson in 1974.

Other Finding Aids

Handlist, H47; Another 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.

Alternative Form Available

A selection of the ballads in the Collection of Broadsides has been published by the Friends of as No. 4 in their series of Drummond Books under the title  Sons of Scotia, raise your voice : early 19th-century Scottish broadsides from a collection in Edinburgh University Library (1991). The work is available in Edinburgh University Library, Main Library, George Square, at shelfmark .3988(41) Son.