Scottish Studies

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The University of Guelph Library is well known for its extensive Scottish Studies Collection that is the largest in the world outside the United Kingdom. Encompassing both Scottish and Scottish-Canadian history, these collections support many areas of research.

The special collections and archives, which comprise part of the overall library collection on Scottish Studies, include thousands of:

  • Rare books
  • Manuscripts
  • Atlases
  • Travel guides
  • Diaries
  • Letters
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Pamphlets and burgh records

Archival and special collections cover many Scottish topics such as topography, rural and agricultural studies, business, chapbooks, family and clan information, emigration, the Jacobite rebellions, local history, and church and religious history (especially the Disruption). Archival materials in the Scottish Collection consist of a variety of formats that include diaries, letters, legal documents, photographs, scrapbooks, clippings and genealogies.

The earliest items in the collection are Campbell of Monzie land charters which date forward from c.1330s. The largest archival collection, the Ewen-Grahame papers, covers the period 1732 to 1892; it contains personal and business correspondence with people concerned with art, politics, and commerce. Many collections pertain to Scottish emigrant families, such as the Lizars Collection, an Edinburgh family that settled near Goderich, Ontario. An original collection of Jacobite works purchased in 1975 has been greatly augmented to become one of the best in the world. Manuscript letters and editions of sympathetic tales of the "Young Chevalier" often include flattering portraits of Bonnie Prince Charlie while other works, such as the curious Collectanea, a collection of English newspapers clippings from 1745 to 1747, present anti-Jacobite views.

Among the monographic and ephemera holdings there are numerous guidebooks and travel accounts and local histories comprising the Scottish Tourism Collection. These acquisitions encompass such works as John Parker Lawson’s Scotland Delineated (1858) and travel related publications about cities and illustrated views, such as William Beattie’s Caledona Illustrated (1838) which includes engravings by W.H. Bartlett, T. Allom and others. Earlier rare works, such as Sir John Sinclair’s "old" Statistical Account (1791-99) and county reports, are readily available.

The local history collection is unique in North America for its completeness, numbering in excess of 3,000 items containing valuable genealogical and local history materials. For those tracing their Scottish ancestry, there are many useful circulating handbooks and a large collection of family histories in Guelph's open collections.

Many tracts on Scotland’s turbulent religious history, such as a collection of the Disruption pamphlets, are located in rare books. More specialized collections of pamphlets cover the Covenanting periods of the 17th century, including both the early period (1637 to 1650’s) as well as the later, Cameronian period. Another valuable addition is a large collection of printed material on the Catholic Apostolic Church, founded by the Annan-born preacher, Edward Irving (1792-1834).

Literary holdings are extensive. The John Galt Collection, while not complete for this author of over a hundred titles, is the best in Canada: the library has many of his American pirate editions and has one of four known copies of Galt’s epic poem "The Battle of Largs" (1804). Particularly strong is the Scottish Chapbook Collection, numbering in excess of five hundred booklets. These small pamphlets offer a unique insight into what people "on the street" were reading during the first part of the eighteenth century. The library has a unique copy of a literary magazine, The Spy, edited by James Hogg, the "Ettrick Shepherd", in which Hogg had identified many of the anonymous contributors.

Many resources outside Archival & Special Collections circulate, notably the publications of nineteenth century Scottish clubs. These include, for example:

  • The famed Bannatyne Club (est. 1823), first edited by Sir Walter Scott
  • The Maitland Club
  • The Spalding Club of Aberdeen
  • The Society of Antiquaries
  • The Glasgow Archaeological Society

Those interested in Scottish Genealogy can consult the resources provided through the Ontario Ancestors' Scottish Special Interest Group. Information about our collections and many others is available there as well.


A list of Archival & Special Collections Resources
Album of Scottish albumen prints Album of Scottish albumen prints by George Washington Wilson, James Valentine and 1867-1885
Album of Scottish albumin prints of River Tay from Perth to KillinPhotographs of the River Tay in Scotland by James 1870-1900
Album of cabinet and imperial albumen prints chiefly of ScotlandAlbum of photographs by George Washington Wilson, James Valentines, and other unidentified 1890
Alexander Gair LettersLetters of Alexander Gair and of Joseph Mackay, Catechist, Reay, Scotland - contain references to the Disruption.1811-1848
Alexander Malet transcriptionsCollection of manuscript transcriptions (approximately 50 sheets) relating to Mary, Queen of Scots, then in the possession of Sir Alexander 1880
Amos Cruickshank LettersLetters from Amos Cruickshank, Sittyton, Aberdeenshire, to James I. Davidson, Guelph? chiefly regarding export of cattle.1873-1891
Anderson Family PapersLetters to Thomas Anderson, settler near Guelph, from family and friends in Kennoway and Edinburgh and later from Paisley Block to Toronto.1833-1870
Armstrong Family PapersFour Letters written by various members of the Armstrong family, emigrants to British North America from the Counties of Ross and Dumfries.1833-1861
Beattie Family fondsPhotocopies of correspondence and rental accounts relating to Beattie Family of Broomhill Farm, Strathdon Parish, Aberdeenshire.1505-1968
Brough Family fondsA collection of Brough family letters from Berwickshire to Otonabee Township.1834-1864
Cameron, RichardA proclamation declaring Mr. Richard Cameron, and others, rebels and traitors, etc.1680
Cameronian CovenantersCollection of documents related to the Cameronian Covenanters, later known as the United Societies.1681-1690
Campbell FamilyThe genealogy of the House of 1750
Campbell of Monzie PapersA series of documents and charters from 1332 to 1811 of the Campbell family in the Monzie castle.1332-1811
Clan Fergusson Society of North AmericaCollection consists of issues of "The Bee Line", the official newsletter of the Clan Fergusson Society of North America.1972-2003
Clan Fraser CollectionMaterials related to Clan Fraser in Canada.1968-2013, bulk 1992-2013.
Clan Leslie CollectionContains the records of the American Clan Leslie Society and Clan Leslie Society 1869-
Clarke E. Leverette CollectionCollection of stereographic cards that depict a wide variety of subjects, including views of the University of Guelph, portraits, and travel views from across the globe, including Scotland.1873-1980
Collection of Scottish Scenic PostcardsCollection of Scottish Scenic Postcardsca 1950s
David Erskine Dun, LordDecreet of Declarator - My Lord Dun (1670-1758) Against the Magistrates of Montrose, Constabulary, 1733.1733
Descriptions of Parishes in the HebridesDescriptions of parishes in the Hebrides including North and South Uist, Lewis, Harris and Barra. ca 1880
Diaries of Roy and Jennie FlemingDiaries of Roy and Jennie Fleming covering their trip to the British Isles.1903
Dinwiddie fondsApproximately one hundred letters that illustrate the more practical aspects of Dr. Dinwiddie's professional and personal life, his travels, and business affairs.1778-1815
Disruption RecordsIncludes addresses, letters, declarations, notices, circulars, reports, and statements.1840-1873
Duncan Family PapersFamily papers of John Duncan, postmaster, Concord, Ontario.1837-1910
Edinburgh Adelphi Theatre HandbillsCollection of 19th century handbills from the Edinburgh Adelphi Theatre, Theatre Royal, Edinburgh and the Royal Mohock Theatre.1835-1845
Ewen-Grahame fondsJohn Ewen (1745-1821) was a merchant, writer, philanthropist and reformer who lived in Aberdeen, Scotland.1723-1892
Fairlie-Cunninghame of RobertlandGrant of arms to Sir John Cunninghame Fairlie of Robertland, County of Ayr, Baronet of Nova Scotia, from Thomas Robert, 11th Earl of Kinnoull, Lord Lyon, King of Arms (1804-1866), Edinburgh.1837
Fasken Family CollectionFamily papers including correspondence, legal documents, business and genealogical records of William Fasken and Margaret Mitchell.1784-1887
Foulis Press CollectionRobert (1707-76) and his brother Andrew Foulis (1712-75) started as booksellers and then printers in Glasgow. This is a collection of their printed works from the Foulis Press.
Free Church of ScotlandCollection of records from the Free Church of Scotland
Geike, Walter A series of seven Handcoloured Etchings of Edinburgh Characters by W. Geikie, c. 1830 and an additional portrait.1830-1993
George Douglas CollectionMaterials related to ships and shipbuilding in Scotland.1924-1994
Good Family Letters24 typescript letters from various members of the Good Family in Scotland and in Ontario.1841-1875
Govan Family fondsA series of documents relating to the Govan family (along with the Livingston & Kilgour branches) that emigrated to Ontario from Scotland. 1842-1981
Hamilton Family fondsLegal documents relating to various members of the Hamilton family including Lord George Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney.1700-1787
Hay FamilyHay Family of Erroll and its Branches.1843
Highland Regiment of FootMaterials related to the 93rd (or Sutherland) Highland Regiment of Foot.1790-1900
Hope, Sir ThomasCollection of Laws by Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall, Co. Fife, Lord Advocate, 1631.1631
Houston-McNeely-Blair Family PapersLetters and clippings relating to genealogy of the Houston, McNeely and Blair families of Scotland.1832-1966
Hutcheon Family PapersTwo Letters From J. Ruxton, Ulaw, Aberdeenshire to Members of the Hutcheon Family in Nassagaweya Township, Upper Canada.1829-1835
Jacobite Intelligence LettersJacobite Intelligence Letters1715
Jardine Clan SocietyCollection of photograph albums and some papers relating to the Ontario branch of the Jardine Clan Society.1978-2001
Jardine Family of Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, Scotland FondsJardine Family of Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Fonds1799-1973
John FergusonVoyage From Perth to New Brunswick in 1840, Journal Kept by J. Ferguson, March 21-June 1, 1840.1840
John Galt CollectionScottish author and first Superintendent (1826-1829) of the Canada Company.1785-2013
John Morris LettersLetters from Edinburgh to John Morris, Canada East, 1851.1851
Kelso Family PapersPapers of the Kelso family, Glasgow, Scotland.1796-1815
Letters of Alexander Gair and of Joseph MackayLetters of Alexander Gair and of Joseph Mackay, Catechist, Reay, Scotland - contain references to the Disruption.1811-1848
MacDiarmid, Hugh Correspondence, clippings, exhibition catalogues, programs, sound recording and ephemera relating to Hugh MacDiarmid (i.e. Christopher M. Grieve).1947-1992
McKinnon Family fondsCorrespondence, legal and business documents and a few photographs relating to the genealogy of the McKinnon family.1860
McLeish, A. JournalA journal that describes a trip made by A. McLeish from Glasgow to London in 1816 and Glasgow to Denmark in 1820.1816-1820
Miller-Davidson Family CollectionLetters, books, scrapbooks and other records relating chiefly to the shorthorn cattle business between Amos Cruikshank of Sittyton Grove, Aberdeenshire and the Miller and Davidson families of Ontario.1867-1945
National Library of Scotland PublicationsIncludes 14 publications by the National Library of Scotland.1990-1992
Photograph Album and Archive of a Scottish Soldier in CairoA photograph album and small archive related to Sergt. John Lister's time as a soldier in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force stationed in Cairo during the First World War, 1915-1917.1915-1917
Photograph Album of Aberdeen, Braemar, and Ballater, ScotlandPhotograph by George Washington Wilsonca 1853-1893
Photograph Album of Scottish Highland ScenesAlbum of photographs of Scottish Highland scenes by George Washington Wilsonca 1888-1900
Photograph Album of Tarbert Village on Loch Fyne, ScotlandPhotographs by George Washington Wilsonca 1853-1893
Photograph album of Tullibody, Sauchie, and Edinburgh, ScotlandPhotographs by George Washington 1853-1893
Photographs and Postcards of Kirkpatrick-DurhamPhotographs and Postcards of Kirkpatrick-Durham1913-1956
Photographs of Scottish SceneryPhotography of Scottish Scenery by James 1870s
Photographs of Scottish ScenesPhotograph album of Scottish Scenes by James 1840s
Pioneer CollectionThe Pioneer Collection represents the personal library of Mr. Daniel Lizars (1793-1875), a Scottish immigrant who came to Canada from Edinburgh with his family in 1833.pre 1834 - ca. 1875
Postcards from Kilwinning, ScotlandPostcards from Kilwinning, Scotland1880-1895
Pulteney Family PapersCorrespondence addressed to Sir W. Pulteney from his two agents George Malcolm and John Maxwell, chiefly concerning management of Westerhall Estate, Dumfriesshire.1628-1874
Register of British Regimental Histories, 1761-1900Manuscript detailing Regiments of the British Army.1761-1900
Robert Christie fondsLegal documents of Robert Christie, a paving merchant of Glasgow, and his daughter, Robina Christie Hosie.1900-1939
Robert Steel Collection Collection includes leather-bound sketchbook containing 26 sketches of Scottish scenery.1850-1858
Rosebank Estate Photo AlbumRosebank photo album1880-1892
Scott, George (essays)A hard cover bound book containing written essays by George Scott dating from 1802-1817 with an addition in 1835.1802-1835
Scottish Chapbook CollectionChapbooks in Scotland were usually small pamphlet-like books of clever remarks, folklore, stories, and songs normally costing only a few pence.
Scottish Scenery, Photographs by James ValentineAlbumen prints of Scottish 1860
Scottish Studies FoundationVarious materials relating to the Scottish Studies Foundation.1983-1992
Scottish Tourism Ephemera CollectionEphemeral items related to travel and tourism in Scotland in the 19th and early 20th 1880s -1950s
Scottish Tourism Postcard CollectionPostcards from various parts of Scotland, depicting tartans, hotel advertising, street scenes, tours and other social 1800-1937
Smibert Family fondsCorrespondence of the Smibert family.1825-1863
Smith Family fondsCorrespondence and family papers from the family of Alexander Smith.1937-1981
St. Andrews, Scotland (Fife documents)Fife documents on parchment, chiefly land transactions from the firms of Smart and Thomson Faws, Kingskettle, Kettle, Fife and Easter and Wester Pilmour, St. Andrews. 1522-1614
Strachan Family PapersCorrespondence relating to the Aberdeenshire Family of Strachan.1813-1819
Urquhart-Campbell-Sutherland PapersThis collection includes the correspondence of three Scottish ministers who were related by marriage: Rev. Alexander Urquhart, Rev. James Campbell, and Rev. Murdoch Sutherland.1780-1884
Watt-Argo Family PapersCorrespondence to B. Argo-Watt, Nichol Township, from relatives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.1836-1864
Wauchope Family and Business CollectionCollection of receipts, minutes, business letters, legal documents, and other estate affairs.1650-1800
Wilson, Daniel, Sir (Letters)Collection of five letters from Sir Daniel Wilson and six from his colleague John Buchanan, mainly to Professor Thomson of Aberdeen, largely concerning a new edition of Stuart's Caledonia Romana.1842-1852
Lizars CollectionCollection consists of documents which include John Galt correspondence, ledger dealing with agricultural and settlement matters, possibly the start of information for Canada Company settlers.1785-1887
Mickle Family Collection Collection of correspondence, legal documents, accounts, and photographs relating to 6 generations of the Mickle Family.1710-1950
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