Marischal College Library, Aberdeen, in the nineteenth century: an overview

Iain Beavan

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    This paper considers the last decades (1820s to 1860s) of Marischal College Library, Aberdeen, until its independent existence was extinguished as part of the fusion (1860) with King’s College, to form the University of Aberdeen. While the colleges themselves have been intensively studied, the actual and expected roles of Marischal College’s Library over those decades have been overlooked.

    The paper addresses students’ and graduates’ disaffection with the Library; the findings of the three royal commissions (1826, 1836, 1858), and the causes of the Library’s acerbic relationship with King’s College Library. The loss of the direct right of legal deposit, and of any subsequent compensation, damaged both the reputation and effectiveness of Marischal College’s Library. Consequently, its book stock, combined with the building’s constrained physical setting, rendered it unsuitable to become the main library for the fused university.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)258-279
    Number of pages22
    JournalLibrary and Information History
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


    • Library history
    • Aberdeen Marischal College
    • Aberdeen King's College
    • Aberdeen University of Aberdeen
    • Aberdeen Scottish Academic Library
    • British Copyright Legislation Universities
    • Scotland (Act)
    • 1858 Joseph Hume, MP


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