Special Collections & Archives Overview

Identifying Special Collections Material

Thanks to its age and its history, the library has extensive rare book and special collections. The rare books held by the library are all recorded in the library catalogue. Archives and other special collections are currently listed separately, with links to each listing given below.

The library holds collections of correspondence, notes and journals of nationally including renowned natural historians J.A. Harvie-Brown and William Jardine and the polar explorer William Speirs Bruce. Scottish history and archaeology are represented by a varied collection including the letters of William Smellie; the journals of Robert Riddell; drawings by James Drummond and Alexander Archer; and the scrapbook of Sir Daniel Wilson.

The library holds the National Museums Scotland archives which includes correspondence, scrapbooks, posters, original plans, illustrations, photographs and ephemera. It also holds the historical archives and manuscripts of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Consulting Special Collections Material

Visitors to the Library are welcome to request an appointment to view Special Collections and Archives by completing a Booking Request Form.