Lectures and Correspondence of Professor Joseph Shield Nicholson (1859-1927)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The material comprises: lectures on commercial and political economy and mercantile law; lectures on political economy, 1889-1890; lectures on political economy, 1898-1899; and, letters to Professor Geikie about examinations in agricultural economics, 1891-1892, at Da.45.5, f. 25, 31, 33.

Administrative / Biographical History

Joseph Shield Nicholson was born at Wrawby, Lincolnshire, on 9 November 1850. He studied at Edinburgh University and at Trinity College, Cambridge. Later on he studied at London. From 1876 until 1880 he was a private tutor at Cambridge where he had established his reputation in the field of political economy. His work on the Effects of machinery on wages was published in 1878. In 1880 he was appointed to the Chair of Political Economy at Edinburgh University. Other publications by Nicholson include Tenant's gain not landlord's loss (1883), Historical progress and ideal socialism (1894), and The neutrality of the United States (1915). He also published romantic works including Thoth (1888) and A dreamer of dreams. Professor Joseph Shield Nicholson retired in 1925, and died on 12 May 1927.

Conditions Governing Access

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

Acquisition Information

Lectures taken down by Ross, acquired April 1972, Accession no. E72.10. Lectures taken down by Easterbrook, purchased June 1972, Accession no. E72.26. Lectures taken down by Macphail, purchased May 1978, Accession no. E78.15.


Letters at Da.45.5, f. 25, 31, 33 unseen at time of writing description.

The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Burnett, John H. et al. (eds.). The university portraits. 2nd series. pp.142-143. Edinburgh: University Court, 1986. (2) Who was who 1916-1928. 3rd edition. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1962.

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.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show various other references to Nicholson related material (check the Indexes for more details): comment in essay of J. Robbie, class of 1892-1893, at Gen 2002/1; a letter to Nicholson from W. Blackwood, 1893, at Gen. 1790, no. 151; letter from Professor F. Y. Edgeworth, 1921, at Gen. 1730-1732; and, notice of Nicholson in Sir J. S. Flett's account of his student days, 1886-1894, at Dc.6.116, ff.21-22. In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: letters to Sir Charles Addis, 1916-1925, London University: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, Ref. PP MS 14 NRA 30593 Addis; correspondence with Blackwoods, 1888-1893, National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, Ref. MSS 4522, 4539, 4605, 4725; letters to Edwin Cannan, 1904-1924, London University: British Library of Political and Economic Science, Ref. Cannan NRA 29424 Cannan; letters (24) to John Neville Keynes, 1884-1909, Cambridge University: Marshall Library of Economics, see Sturges, Economists papers 1750-1950, 1975; and correspondence with Macmillans, 1906-1926, British Library, Manuscript Collections, Ref. Add MS 55209.

Corporate Names