Correspondence of George Husband Baird (1761-1840), Principal of Edinburgh University

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-291
  • Dates of Creation
      19th century
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      circa 11 letters.
  • Location
      Dc.4.102; Gen. 1999/1/39-40; Gen. 1801/2; Gen. 1733/48; E89.72

Scope and Content

The collection consists of correspondence with: Earl of Buchan, 1807, at Dc.4.102; and, Professor Robert Jameson (1774-1854) between 1815 and 1836, at Gen. 1999/1/39-40. Also correspondence about the acquisition of Louis Dufresne's natural history collection; letter about material for the College Museum collection, at Gen. 1733/48; and, letters at E.89.72.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Husband Baird was born in Bo'ness, West Lothian, in 1761. He was educated in local schools in Bo'ness and Linlithgow, and then studied at Edinburgh University. While pursuing the traditional courses on offer, he also studied philosophy and philology. Baird became licensed to preach in 1786 and was Minister at New Greyfriars in 1792. In 1792 too, he was appointed to the Chair of Hebrew and Oriental Languages, and in 1793 he became Principal of Edinburgh University. In 1824 he submitted a scheme for the education of the poor in the Highlands and Islands to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. During his office as Principal, student numbers increased from one thousand to two thousand, and Chairs in Conveyancing, Music, Forensic Medicine, Clinical Surgery, Military Surgery, and Pathology were established. Also, in 1789, the foundation stone of the Old College building was laid. George Husband Baird died in 1840.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Letters regarding Dufresne Collection received May 1970, Accession No. E70.18. Letter about material for Museum collection purchased February 1983, Accession No. E83.17. Letters to Professor R. Jameson received 1975, Accession No. E75.45 or 44. Letters, 1821, purchased October 1989, Accession no. E.89.72.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Rice, D. Talbot (compiler). The university portraits. pp.2-4. Edinburgh: The University Press, 1957.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.

Related Material

The local Indexes show various references to Baird related material in the Laing Collection (check the Indexes for more details): letters at La.III.353., La.II.583., La.II.511., La.II.466., La.II.244., La.II.151., La.II.110., and La.Add.3. Also letters to Baird at Dc.4.102, ff.98-99, and Gen. 1801/2.

Corporate Names