A new online guide to some of our major collections of Scottish literary papers is now available on the Centre for Research Collections website. It provides an overview of fourteen of our most significant twentieth-century collections, covering the literary manuscripts and correspondence of poets George Mackay Brown, Norman MacCaig, Hugh MacDiarmid, Edwin Muir, Sydney Goodsir Smith, Helen Cruickshank, Tom Scott, Andrew Young, Maurice Lindsay, and Duncan Glen, of short-story writer Fred Urquhart, and of historian and biographer Marion Lochhead. There are also pages on novelist John Buchan’s correspondence as literary adviser to Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd (in our Nelson Archive).
The guide not only lists the most significant literary manuscripts for each writer, but highlights links between the collections, charting correspondence between the featured writers, and mutually inspired creative and critical writings. For each writer, there is also a list of manuscript materials of relevance in other Edinburgh University Library collections. There are further links to online hand-lists and to relevant entries in the Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue.
The literary papers cover a great variety of materials:
- Manuscript and typescript drafts of literary works, such as Norman MacCaig‘s version of the Brecht/Weil song Mack the Knife (above right)
- Correspondence, including George Mackay Brown‘s application for a summer job at Edinburgh University Library (below left)!
- Photographs, such as W. R. Aitken‘s portrait of Hugh MacDiarmid and family on Whalsay, Shetland (above left)
- Other visual materials, such as Sydney Goodsir Smith‘s sketches for staging one of his plays (below right)
In due course, the pages will be expanded to cover smaller Scottish collections and pre-20th-century manuscripts, and to detail our holdings of writers (like Sorley Maclean or Edwin Morgan) for whom we have no discrete named collection. We hope that the guide will provide an invaluable gateway to our collections for anyone interested in researching 20th-century Scottish writing. To explore the site, go to: