George Adam Smith Papers

Scope and Content

The George Adam Smith Archive, comprising correspondence and papers of the very Rev Sir George Adam Smith (1856-1942), theologian, Moderator of the United Free Church General Assembly, 1916, and Principal of Aberdeen University, 1910-1935; of his wife Lilian, ne Buchanan (1866-1949) and her family; and of their family, particularly George Buchanan Smith (d. 1915) and Robert Dunlop Smith (d. 1917). Includes correspondence relating to Smith's appointments, travels, publications and heresy case 1902; official correspondence and papers, circa 1892-1934; engagement books 1908-1908, 1912-1931; lectures, sermons, addresses, etc.

Administrative / Biographical History

Smith, Very Rev Sir George Adam, Kt, 1916; MA, DD, LLD, LittD, FBA 1916; Chaplain to the King in Scotland since 1933; Chaplain 1st Class TF; Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Aberdeen University, 1909-1935; born Calcutta, 19 October 1856; eldest son of late George Smith, LLD, CIE, formerly editor of the Friend of India, and Janet Colquhoun, daughter of Robert Adam; married 1889, Lilian, daughter of Sir George Buchanan, FRS, late medical officer of the Local Government Board; one son (two killed in European War) three daughters. Royal High School, University, and New College, Edinburgh; University of Tbingen and University of Leipzig.After travelling in Egypt and Syria, became assistant to Rev. John Fraser, Free West Church, Brechin, 1880; Hebrew tutor, Free Church College, Aberdeen, 1880-1882; minister of Queen's Cross Free Church, 1882-1892; travelled in Syria and East of Jordan, 1891, 1901, 1904; Percy Turnbull Lect. on Hebrew Poetry, Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, 1896; Lyman Beecher Lecturer, Yale Univ., 1899; Visiting Professor, Chicago University, and Earle Lecturer, Berkeley, California, 1909; Schweich Lecturer, British Academy, 1910; Jowett Lecturer, London, 1900; Professor of OT Lang. Liter and Theology, UF Church College, Glasgow, 1892; Chairman Scottish Council for Women's Trades; Moderator of the General Assembly United Free Church of Scotland, 1916-1917; commissioned by British Foreign Office and American National Committee on the Moral Aims of the Allies to deliver addresses on this subject in the US, 1918; Baird Lecturer, Glasgow, 1922; President Sir Walter Scott Club, 1930.The Book of Isaiah (2 vols), 1888-1890; rev. edition, 1927; The Preaching of the Old Testament to the Age, 1893; Historical Geography of the Holy Land, 1894 (25th edit. 1931); The Twelve Prophets (2 vols), 1896-1897; rev. edition, 1928; The Life of Henry Drummond, 1898 (7th ed. 1902); Modern Criticism and the Preaching of the Old Testament, 1901; The Forgiveness of Sins, and other Sermons, 1904; Jerusalem; the Topography, Economics, and History, 1908; The Early Poetry of Israel (Schweich Lectures), 1912; Atlas of the Historical Geography of the Holy Land, with Dr J. G. Bartholomew, 1914; Syria and the Holy Land, 1918; Deuteronomy (The Cambridge Bible), 1918; Our Common Conscience, Addresses delivered in America during the Great War, 1918; The Teaching of the OT in Schools; Jeremiah, 1923, revised edition, 1929; (with John Buchan) The Kirk in Scotland, 1930.


The Archive which contains extensive correspondence relating to the public careers of Sir George and Lady Adam Smith, and to their family connections, is arranged as follows:Nos 1-153 George and Lilian Adam Smith; Nos 154-81 Buchanan Family and Lilian Adam Smith; Nos 182-215 George Buchanan/Robert Dunlop Smith; Nos 216-20 Aberdeen Principalship; Nos 221-322 Diaries; Nos 298-322 Lectures and Sermons; Nos 323-91 Robert Dunlop Smith; Nos 392-7 Alick D Buchanan-Smith; Nos 398-406 Family Biographical Records; Nos 407-12 Family Albums; Nos 413-21 Formal Documents; No 422 Robert Dunlop Smith (additional items).Much preliminary arrangement to the Archive is the work of Dr Janet Adam Smith whose original lists are in No 405 of the collection.

Access Information

Other Finding Aids and manual catalogues: For biographical information concerning the family, see nos. 398-406, the inventory of the Archive, and David Maclod, Prophet with Honour, Edinburgh, 1992 (Acc. 10586).

Custodial History

Presented in June 1987 by the family of the late Lord Balerno of Currie, son of George Adam Smith.


Closed collection.