Edinburgh Main Library Older Pamphlets Collections

(Collection description created in 2002. Links checked 2009)


Special Collections Division, Edinburgh University Library

Publication date range

Late 16th century to c.1920

Number of items

1396 bound volumes

Description of the collection

The greater part of the collection dates from the first half of the 19th century and consists of controversial tracts relating, in particular, to the church history, politics and government, economics, and educational policies of Edinburgh, Scotland, Great Britain and the Crown Colonies. There are also pamphlets on theological, legal, philosophical, scientific, medical, philological and antiquarian questions. Among the later pamphlets in the collection, there is strong coverage of the Suffrage Movement. Besides controversial tracts there are numerous annual reports of Scottish philanthropical societies, volumes of proceedings of the general assemblies of religious denominations, and individual sermons. Together with the 19th century material, there are approximately 550 volumes of 17th and 18th century dissertations, primarily from Germany, on theological, medical and legal subjects.


The bulk of the collection was directly acquired by the Library during the 19th and early 20th centuries as part of its general collection. Up to 1837, pamphlets were acquired by legal deposit and thereafter purchased out of an annual Treasury grant. Some items were acquired, by donation or purchase, from the libraries of individuals.

Language(s) of the material

English, Latin, German and French


Find out about conditions of access

Library's online catalogue

Search the library's online catalogue.

Any other information

323 of the 1396 pamphlet volumes were covered by the 19th century Pamphlets team. The remaining pamphlets are currently being entered onto the University Library online catalogue as part of the retro-conversion of the Guardbook Catalogue

This collection has not been digitised

Copac is a national, academic & special library catalogue

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