Kurt Thiele: Report on William Robertson Smith

Scope and Content

'William Robertson Smith: Ein Bericht seines Wirkens von seinem Neffen Kurt Thiele', a photocopy of a report on Smith's works.

Administrative / Biographical History

Pastor Kurt Thiele of Braunschweig (Brunswick) was the nephew of William Robertson Smith.

William Robertson Smith (1846-1894), theologian and Semitic scholar, was born at New Farm, Keig, in the Vale of Alford, Aberdeenshire. He was educated at home by his father, and attended Aberdeen University and New College, Edinburgh. He was appointed to the chair of Hebrew and Old Testament exegesis at the Free Church College, Aberdeen, in 1870, and became a member of the Old Testament revision committee in 1875. Smith's articles for the ninth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which appeared in 1875, attracted hostility from within the free church and led to his removal from his Aberdeen chair in 1881. He subsequently became editor-in-chief of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. In 1883 he was appointed Professor of Arabic in Cambridge, where he settled for the rest of his life. He died at Christ's College on 31 November 1894.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Presented by P. Dsterdieck, Universittsbibliothek der Technischen Universitt Braunschweig, Germany, September 1987.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on William Robertson Smith in Sidney Lee, ed., Dictionary of national biography, vol. XVIII, pp. 568-570 (London, 1909).

Other Finding Aids


Custodial History

The document was presented, with MS.Add.8860, to the Universittsbibliothek der Technischen Universitt Braunschweig by Kurt Thiele.

Related Material

Cambridge University Library hold letters and papers of William Robertson Smith, MSS.Add.7449 and 7476.