Scottish Tourism Collection

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Picturesque landscapes, sporting opportunities, history, art and literature have enticed travellers to Scotland for more than three centuries – and in increasing numbers since the development of a mass tourism infrastructure in the nineteenth century. Significant records are in the holdings of the Scottish Tourism Collection, which spans the seventeenth century to the mid-twentieth century. The collection consists of printed books, manuscripts, ephemera, and photographs and is a rich resource for exploring cultural, social, and economic dimensions of travel history.

Our cartographic holdings include maps and atlases dating from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. Important landmarks in the spatial delineation of Scotland include the Blaeu Atlas (1662), the first complete atlas of Scotland, and the Atlas of Scotland, the first large-scale atlas of Scotland organized by county, which was engraved by W. H. Lizars and published by John Thompson in 1832.

Early examples of published travelogues include Martin Martin’s A Voyage to St. Kilda (1698, 1753), a second edition of Samuel Johnson’s A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (1775), James Boswell’s The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, with Samuel Johnson (1785), and Thomas Pennant’s A Journey from London to the Isle of Wight (1801), among others. Also of note is The Tour of Doctor Prosody, in search of the antique and picturesque... (1821), a satire on the vogue for Scottish travel published by William Combe and illustrated with hand-coloured aquatint prints by Thomas Rowlandson. The collection also includes numerous guidebooks published in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, such as Washington Irving’s Tour in Scotland 1817, and other manuscript notes (1927).

Unpublished material in our holdings include several manuscript travelogues by visitors to Scotland. Of particular note is the manuscript journal of the celebrated Canadian author L. M. Montgomery who in 1911 spent her honeymoon in Scotland. Other accounts include John Shepherd Birley’s Journal of a Three Week Tour in Scotland (1825); Christopher Dalton’s Travel Journal (1825) detailing his journey from Edinburgh through the Highlands to Tobermory; the original manuscript diary of John McOuan's tour through Scotland (1856-1857) to such destinations as Glasgow, the Bridge of Allen, Comrie, Bannockburn, Stirling, Edinburgh, and Glentarken; and two accounts of a 1903 tour to the British Isles in the Diaries and Roy and Jennie Flemming. Letters of a Young Woman Travelling through Europe recounts the travels of an American, identified only as “Helena,” who wrote to her family while visiting Western Europe and Scotland from June to September 1887.

The growing collection of Scottish tourism ephemera includes materials related to transport and lodging including bus timetables, David MacBrayne Ltd. publications, and brochures for North British Railway, London and North Eastern Railway, and Caledonian Railway. There is also a large collection of postcards published and printed by Valentine’s & Sons, Tucks, W. A. & K. Johnston, and others.

The photography of James Valentine and George Washington Wilson, contemporaries in the employ of Queen Victoria, can be found in a number of albums and viewbooks, which both functioned as souvenirs and to promote travel in Scotland. Additionally, we hold a large stereoscope image collection, gathered by Charles E. Leverette, which includes many views of Scotland.

The following fonds and collections contain materials related to Scotland and travel:

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
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
Descriptions of Parishes in the HebridesDescriptions of parishes in the Hebrides including North and South Uist, Lewis, Harris and Barra. ca 1880
Jardine Family of Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, Scotland FondsJardine Family of Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Fonds1799-1973
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
Photograph Album of Aberdeen, Braemar, and Ballater, ScotlandPhotograph by George Washington Wilsonca 1853-1893
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
Postcards from Kilwinning, ScotlandPostcards from Kilwinning, Scotland1880-1895
Robert Steel Collection Collection includes leather-bound sketchbook containing 26 sketches of Scottish scenery.1850-1858
Rosebank Estate Photo AlbumRosebank photo album1880-1892
Scottish Scenery, Photographs by James ValentineAlbumen prints of Scottish 1860
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
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