Records of the Glasgow Adam Smith Club, staff society, University of Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Minutes of meetings, including papers read, 1947-1995;
  • The Adam Smith Club, Glasgow 1868-1968 [by Dr David Murray?,] 1969;
  • Menu for Centenary Dinner - includes list of present and retired members 1968.

Administrative / Biographical History

Adam Smith (1723-1790) had been a student and a professor at the  University of Glasgow ,  Scotland , during the eighteenth century. He has been called the "father" of political economy and his major work, The Wealth of Nations , (1776), is recognised, then and now, as one of the seminal works in European philosophy.

The Adam Smith Club was established in November 1868, primarily by Mr  Charles Gairdner , General Manager of the  Union Bank of Scotland . Mr Gairdner had been inspired by a meeting he had attended of the Adam Smith Club of  London, England , which had been founded in  1821  . The Adam Smith Club in  Glasgow, Scotland , was formed for those who were interested in subjects connected with political economy and met once a month between November and March/April. Initially, the Club only had twelve members, which included a chairman and secretary, consisting of staff from the  University of Glasgow and gentlemen from the city. Students were not permitted to join. The secretary also appears to have dealt with the financial aspect of the Club. Meetings consisted of a dinner followed by a talk given by one of the members. Subjects varied; a few were directly linked to  Adam Smith but all were connected with political economy. Although the Club had begun to expand, it lapsed between  1897-1907  . There is no official reason given for this, though it was suggested that the bitterness of political discussions had played a part.

In  1907  there was a resolution to establish a "new Adam Smith Club". Increasingly the discussions were concentrated on those in which the speaker was to some extent an expert rather than debating broad general terms. Activities were suspended during the  1914-1918  World War but continued from  1920  . In  1952  , meetings were reduced from five a year to four. In  1968  , the Club celebrated its centenary with a formal dinner. The first female member made her maiden contribution on  18th November 1992  . Records indicate the Club continued after  1995  .


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Transfer : Principal's office : 1982 : ACCN 0394

Gift : Club member : 2000 : ACCN 1896

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material

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

Held by the Adam Smith Club. Some material was held in the Principal's office before transfer to archives. Other material was held privately.


None expected

Related Material

GB 0248 DC 157, Records of Glasgow University Student Representative Council (SRC)

GB 0247, MS Gen 1441-54, Minutes and papers of Adam Smith Club, London 1891-1939 (Glasgow University Library, Special Collections Department)

Location of Originals

This material is original


No known publications using this material

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 Hannah Westall, Archives Assistant, June 2000. Lower level description compiled by members of Glasgow University Archive Service staff. Catalogue converted to Encoded Archival Description by Andrew Semple, Administration Assistant, 26 November 2002. Catalogue revised by Ruth Boreham, Archive Assistant, September 2002. Catalogue edited by Michelle Kaye, Archives Assistant, 13 July 2012. Amended by Sam Maddra, Assistant Archivist (cataloguing), 5 August 2014.

Geographical Names