The University of Edinburgh's rare and unique collections catalogue online.

History Archives

TitleHistory Archives
DescriptionAs befits an institution that played a pivotal role in establishing History as an academic discipline, Edinburgh University holds the personal archives of historians working in a wide range of fields. Edinburgh University inaugurated Scotland’s first history chair in 1619, with the appointment of Charles Mackie as Professor of Universal Civil History and Greek and Roman Antiquities. We hold a diverse selection of papers pertaining to Mackie, including a biographical dictionary, commonplace books, the catalogue of his library, and an ‘index funereus’ of people deceased 1727-1756. The university is also home to Scotland’s first chair of Scottish History (1901), and we hold papers by two of its major incumbents: Gordon Donaldson, a specialist in church history, and William Croft Dickinson, an expert on early modern Scotland. The papers of writer Marion Cleland Lochhead also contain the manuscripts for non-academic works on Scottish religious and social history. Modern British history is represented by the papers of Sir George Walter Prothero (Professor of History, 1894-1899), David Playfair Heatley (Reader in Political Science, 1920-1925), and David Bayne Horn (Professor of Modern History, 1954-1969). Horn is also the author of a short history of Edinburgh University itself, and his papers include extensive notes towards an unfinished fuller history. An important resource for wider European history are the Papers of Sir Richard Lodge (Professor of History, 1899-1925), an expert on both 17th-century English history and 18th-century European diplomacy. The Papers of George Albert Shepperson (Professor of Commonwealth and American History, 1963-1986) reflect his status as a pioneering historian of modern Africa with a particular interest in the African diaspora. Andrew Brown held the Chair of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (English Literature) to little acclaim from 1801 to 1834, but left behind extensive working papers towards a history of North America. These include notes on the War of Independence, Native Americans, Nova Scotia, and colonial history. Another holder of a non-historical chair, Adam Ferguson (Professor of Moral Philosophy, 1764-1785), was the author of an important history of the Roman Republic. His papers include letters on religious intolerance among Greeks and Romans. Eric Forbes played a major international role in the establishment of History of Science as an academic discipline. Holder of a Personal Chair in History of Science at Edinburgh University (1978-1984), his papers particularly reflect his interest in the history of astronomy. Finally, Douglas Guthrie was an equally pioneering lecturer in the History of Medicine (1945-1956), who left a highly diverse archive, including lecture notes, correspondence, and working materials.
OriginEdinburgh; Scotland

Image: MS from Gordon Donaldson's Palaeography Collection