Papers of Robert Spears, University Librarian, Glasgow

Scope and Content

  • essays and addresses 1862-1865;
  • class work 1865-1866;
  • papers relating to Glasgow University Library 1867-1877;
  • correspondence 1872-1878;
  • an obituary and letters of condolence on his death 1878-1879;
  • a photograph of Spears 1870s;
  • The Flourish, a novel by Heather Spears, 2004.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Spears was born in 1843  in Glasgow, the son of Matthew Spears , a confectioner. He matriculated at Glasgow University in 1865  and took classes in Mathematics and English Language and Literature. In 1866  , he attended the Glasgow Athenaeum where he took a class in Mental Science and Logic. In 1867  , at the age of 23, he was appointed University Librarian at Glasgow. His work in the Library included preparing a new catalogue of the whole collection, arranging the fittings in the new Library at Gilmorehill, transferring the books from the old to the new buildings and rearranging them in classified order. Spears suffered from poor health and twice obtained leave of absence from the University to go on foreign trips for his health, firstly in 1872  to the Mediterranean, and secondly in 1878  to Egypt. He died on 15 December 1878  aged 35.


The papers are grouped according to format and subject matter.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Permanent deposit: H. Spears: Acc 2032

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0248 procedures

Custodial History

In custody of Heather Spears.


None expected

Related Material

Records of Glasgow University Library (ref: GB 0248 GUA LIB).

Location of Originals

The records are original.

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives,ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999 and National Council on Archives,Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Fonds level description compiled by Victoria Peters, Assistant Archivist, 20 March 2003.

Geographical Names