Papers of and relating to Francis Carney Diack

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

GB 231 MS 2276 Manuscript volume, entitled Place-names of the Eastern Highlands; from the notebooks of F.C. Diack, with introduction, biographical notes, and an obituary of F.C. Diack, n.d.. The volume was compiled by Dr W.M. Alexander (1880 - 1959), from a series of Diack's notebooks, which record the results of research undertaken in parts of the Eastern Highlands between c 1920 and c 1930. During frequent visits to the area Diack conversed with Gaelic speakers (often last generation Gaelic speakers) and was able to compare local and phonetical differences in Gaelic place names with the written records of the Ordnance Survey maps and others. The volume contains the map names of places in the Eastern Highlands along with the spoken names used by the Gaelic speakers with whom he spoke. The area of his research chiefly covers the districts of Aberfoyle, Strathardle, Braemar, Strathspey and Inverness.

GB 231 MS 2636 Collection of photographic negatives, plates, prints and slides, plaster casts and rubbings, of ogham, Pictish or Latin inscriptions and sculptured stones in Scotland, made by F.C. Diack c 1924 - 1939. The collection has not been fully catalogued, but named sites and monuments identified thus far include the Ackergill Disc; circular ogam at Logie; the Newton Symbol Stone; ogam stone at Insh; Pictish stone at Logie Elphinstone; stones in Meigle Museum; the Beanshill stone; the Drumfours stone; stones at the Kirk of South Whiteness, Lerwick; Clephanton stones; Latin slab from Kirkmadrine; inscribed stone from Whithorn Priory; Pictish stone from Keiss Bay; the Drosten stone at St Vigeans; Roman stones at Fordoun; the Cat stone at Kirkliston; the Grantown sculptured stone; the Newton stone (taken prior to its re-location). Many other images remain unidentified. There are additionally, 16 card index files containing Diack's research on Scottish place names.

GB 231 MS 2771 Working papers of Professor John Fraser and F.C Diack, concerning their research on Celtic philology, conducted during Professor Fraser's time at Aberdeen University, 1907 - 1921. The collection comprises notebooks, files, loose papers, and photographs, with original indices thereof. The original order of papers and files has been disturbed, and listing yet to be completed. It is believed that the collection contains Diack's notebooks relating to his research on place names of the Eastern Highlands, described in GB 231 MS 2276, above.

Administrative / Biographical History

Francis Carney Diack Francis Carney Diack was born in Aberdeen in 1865. He was educated in Banchory and Aberdeen, graduating from the University of Aberdeen, MA 1887. He taught for a short time after graduation, before being appointed in 1892, as Assistant in the University Library and the Department of English, posts which he resigned in 1898, due to ill-health. He developed an interest in Scottish Gaelic, and through extensive and thorough field work became an authority upon the origin and development of Gaelic place names in the North East Highlands, contributing 2 articles on The Toponomy of Pictland to the Revue Celtique, (1921 - 1924), with other articles published in the Transactions of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries, Scottish Gaelic Studies and the local press. He was precise and meticulous in his work, and, on account of his scholarly caution, only a fraction of this research appeared in print during his lifetime. After his death, the Third Spalding Club redressed the balance with the publication of The inscriptions of Pictland: an essay on the sculptured and inscribed stones of the north-east and north of Scotland, with other writings and collections, edited by William M. Alexander and John MacDonald (Aberdeen: Third Spalding Club, 1944), which is comprehensive in its coverage of his work on the inscribed stones of Scotland, and also contains much of the substance of his place name collections. He died at Banchory, in Sept 1939.

For an appreciation of his life and works see Aberdeen University Review, 27 (1939-1940), 56-57; and The inscriptions of Pictland: an essay on the sculptured and inscribed stones of the north-east and north of Scotland, with other writings and collections, edited by William M. Alexander and John MacDonald (Aberdeen: Third Spalding Club, 1944), pp vii-x.

Dr William McCombie Alexander Dr William McCombie Alexander was born in Aberdeen on 22 Jun 1880, and graduated from the University of Aberdeen, MA 1900, BL 1903, and LLD 1952. His father, Henry Alexander, was editor of the Aberdeen Free Press, and for a while he too was employed in the editorial and management side of the paper. A linguist and scholar of considerable merit, specialising in Gaelic philology, he wrote and edited several scholarly works, including Place-names of Aberdeenshire (Aberdeen: Third Spalding Club, 1952), and F.C Diack's The inscriptions of Pictland, cited above. For further details see Aberdeen University Review, 38 (1959-1960), 13-14.

John Fraser John Fraser was born in Inverness in 1882. After graduating from the University of Aberdeen, MA 1903, he continued his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge and the University of Jena. In 1907 he returned to Aberdeen as Assistant in Humanity, and in 1916 was appointed Lecturer in Celtic and Comparative Philology there, a post which he held until his appointment to the Oxford Chair in 1921. He was a frequent contributor to learned periodicals, but published no substantial work of his own. Whilst in Aberdeen, he was engaged in research with Francis Carney Diack on Scottish place name studies. In 1927 he married Francis Galloway Mordaunt (MA Aberdeen, 1919), Assistant in Greek, University of Aberdeen. He died at Oxford on 18 May 1945.

For an appreciation of his life and works see Aberdeen University Review, 31 (1944-1946), 122; 193-195.

Arrangement

None observed - listing in process in each of these collections

Conditions Governing Access

Open, subject to signature accepting conditions of use at reader registration sheet. The plaster casts deposited with GB 232 MS 2636 are stored at Marischal Museum, University of Aberdeen, and access arrangements for these items must be made in advance. Please contact Reading Room for further advice (e-mail: speclib@abdn.ac.uk )

Acquisition Information

GB 231 MS 2276 gifted to the University in 1957, by Dr W.M Alexander. GB 231 MS 2276 gifted to the University in 1957, by Dr W.M Alexander. GB 231 MS 2636: date and source not recorded. Probably deposited by John MacDonald c 1967. GB 231 MS 2636: date and source not recorded. Probably deposited by John MacDonald c 1967. GB 231 MS 2771 deposited in the University in Dec 1970, by John MacDonald's wife.

Other Finding Aids

Very brief collection level description available on Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online http://www.abdn.ac.uk/diss/library/

Alternative Form Available

Some of the papers, photographs and drawings described above are reproduced in F.C. Diack's The inscriptions of Pictland: an essay on the sculptured and inscribed stones of the north-east and north of Scotland, with other writings and collections, edited by William M. Alexander and John MacDonald (Aberdeen: Third Spalding Club, 1944)

Conditions Governing Use

Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation.

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Special Libraries and Archives (e-mail: speclib@abdn.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures

Custodial History

Each of the collections described here was probably utilised by Dr William M. Alexander and John MacDonald, whilst compiling The inscriptions of Pictland; and it seems likely that GB 231 MS 2636 and GB 231 MS 2771 remained in the custody of John MacDonald (1886 - 1970), lecturer (from 1926, reader) in Celtic and Comparative Philology at the University of Aberdeen, 1922 - 1956, prior to their deposit in Special Libraries and Archives.

Accruals

No accruals expected

Related Material

Papers of John Fraser (1882 - 1945), Celtic scholar (GB 231 MS 2760)

Bibliography

F.C. Diack, The inscriptions of Pictland: an essay on the sculptured and inscribed stones of the north-east and north of Scotland, with other writings and collections, edited by William M. Alexander and John MacDonald (Aberdeen: Third Spalding Club, 1944)

Additional Information

This material is original