Literature

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Literature

In the field of literature,  Glasgow has benefitted from a wealth of writers and poets, publishers and printers, literary societies, booksellers and collectors of a wide range of antiquarian and contemporary publications. From the famous eighteenth-century Foulis Press, which was…

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Mrs. Smith of Jordanhill and Mrs. Grant of Laggan

Mrs. Smith of Jordanhill, by John Graham Gilbert. National Galleries of Scotland, Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Isobel Smith, the wife of Archibald Smith of Jordanhill, was a friend and correspondent of Mrs. Grant.   Glasgow-born Anne Macvicar, Mrs. James Grant…

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James Smith of Jordanhill (1782-1867)

Portrait of James Smith of Jordanhill (1782-1867), after Sir Henry Raeburn. Reproduced courtesy of the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. One writer commented: "Mr. Smith, though an independent country gentleman, has devoted much of his time to literary and scientific pursuits,…

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John Strang (1795-1882)

Portrait of John Strang, from Memoirs and Portraits of One Hundred Glasgow Men, volume 2, pages 305-8. John Strang was born in Glasgow, the son of John Strang of Dowanhill, the proprietor of a successful wine and spirit business. Inheriting…

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“A Little Piece of Greenland that is forever Jordanhill”

Extract from ...   In April 1997, The Herald newspaper published 'Scots of the Arctic' by David Duff. The article covers the pioneering Scot, Douglas Charles Clavering (1794-1827), an officer of the British Royal Navy and Arctic explorer. One of…

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Mrs. Grant of Laggan: Comments on Archibald Smith of Jordanhill, in 1815

Letter XXXVI To Mrs. Gorman, Kilmore, Ireland Edinburgh, 19th December, 1815 Anne Grant wrote that Archibald Smith: "is one of those people on whose countenance, sentiments, and manners, the stamp of gentleman is visibly impressed; -such a taste for literature,…

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Mrs. Grant of Laggan: Comments on Isobel Smith of Jordanhill, in 1815

Letter XXXVI To Mrs. Gorman, Kilmore, Ireland Edinburgh, 19th December, 1815 Archibald Smith's wife, Isobel, was Anne Grant's "friend of forty years' standing", and described as a "pure-minded, meek, and amiable being, has an excellent and kind heart, an improved…

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Mrs. Grant of Laggan: Comments on James Smith of Jordanhill, and Roseneath, in 1815

Letter XXXVI To Mrs. Gorman, Kilmore, Ireland Edinburgh, 19th December, 1815 "I accompanied my friends down to Roseneath,  a beautiful seat which the Argyll family have upon the west coast, opposite to Greenock. There Mr. James Smith, my friend's eldest…

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Mrs. Grant of Laggan: Comments on Jordanhill, in 1815

  Letter XXXVI To Mrs. Gorman, Kilmore, Ireland Edinburgh, 19th December, 1815 In this letter, Anne Grant comments that she "stayed five weeks with the Jordanhil family. ... That family consists of Mr. Archibald Smith, who has made a fortune…

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James Denholm (1772-1818)

An entry in the Dictionary of National Biography describes James Denholm as "one of the ablest of local chroniclers", and as author of an Historical and Topographical Description of the City of Glasgow which was published in 1797, his work…

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Jack House (1906-91)

Known as "Mr. Glasgow", Jack House was born in 1906, in Tollcross which at the  time was outside Glasgow's boundaries, and subsequently absorbed by the city's east end. In 1928, he became a reporter for the Glasgow Evening Citizen newspaper,…

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Frank Worsdall (died 1994)

Frank Worsdall was a specialist on the history of Glasgow and one of the most important contributors to recording its architectural heritage. Born in the Midlands, his family moved to the city which was to provide him with inspiration, but…

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Glasgow Subscribers to Joanna Baillie, ‘A Collection of Poems, … edited for the benefit of a friend …’, 1823

  Portrait of Joanna Baillie, by John James Masquerier (1778-1855) A Collection of Poems, Chiefly Manuscript. and from Living Authors, Edited for the Benefit of a Friend, by Joanna Baillie, 1823. A forty-four page list of subscribers published with this…

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Thomas Atkinson (1801?-33), bookseller, writer and poet

Portrait of Thomas Atkinson, by Andrew Henderson. In Biographic and Descriptive Sketches of Glasgow Necropolis, 1857, George Blair devotes almost five pages to Thomas Atkinson, who died at sea during a voyage to Barbados which had been intended to improve…

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Joanna Baillie (1762-1851) Poet

Portrait of Joanna Baillie, by John James Masquerier (), Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow. see other entry for subscribers insert edouart profile  

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David Murray (1842-1928)

David Murray was one of the founders of the law firm Maclay, Murray and Spens, and he served as Dean of the Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow. He presented his large collection of rare books and manuscripts, the Murray Collections,…

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Charles A. Oakley (1900-93)

Charles Allan Oakley was born in Plymouth, and followed his father's wishes by beginning an apprenticeship in Naval Architecture at John Brown and Company Ltd. at Clydebank, when he was sixteen. Subsequently, he won a scholarship to the University of…

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Jack House refers to Glasgow’s role in the Slave Trade in ‘The Heart of Glasgow’, 1965 edition

In Chapter 7 of The Heart of Glasgow, which the author called 'Beyond the Plainstanes', Jack House commented: "At this time there was a group of self-made men in Glasgow who were called the Tobacco Lords. They had cornered the…

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Norman Nichol refers to Glasgow’s role in the Slave Trade in ‘Glasgow & the Tobacco Lords’, 1966

Norman Nichol makes several references to Glasgow's links to the slave trade in several editions of his book, Glasgow & the Tobacco Lords, the first of which was published in 1966. The publication was from the popular 'Then and There…

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Quotes from the Past

'Quotes from the Past' are a selection of quotations from a wide range of publications, including newspapers, magazines and journals, many of which were produced in Glasgow in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

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Jack House refers to Spreull’s Court and the Hanging Staircase in ‘The Heart of Glasgow’, 1965 edition

In Chapter 7 of The Heart of Glasgow, which the author named 'Beyond the Plainstanes', Jack House comments:   "If you keep to the north side of the Trongate you will come to an arched entrance with a legend painted…

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James Cowan, ‘From Glasgow’s Treasure Chest’, 1951

In the Introduction to From Glasgow's Treasure Chest: A Miscellany of History, Personalities and Places, 1951, James Cowan ("Peter Prowler" of the Glasgow Evening Citizen newspaper) informs readers that for some time he had been taking note of and writing…

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From Glasgow’s Treasure Chest: A Fine Old Court – Spreull’s Land (May 1933)

A quote from James Cowan, From Glasgow's Treasure Chest, 1951, pages 88-9: "Many a time in my wanderings along Argyle Street [sic] I have turned in at No. 182 to see the interesting features in and around the precincts of …

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James Smith of Jordanhill: Scholar and Author

James Smith of Jordanhill's obituary in The Glasgow Daily Herald, Thursday, January 24, 1867, provides some valuable information about the subject's life. "Mr Smith was educated at the Grammar School and University of Glasgow. He was for many years a…

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William Motherwell, “The Madman’s Love” and The Lynn

Thomas Annan photographed The Lynn for The Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry. In the accompanying text, it was noted that while standing on the iron bridge, which crosses the River Cart on the which passes through The…

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Quotes from the Past: No. 3 ‘The Glasgow Satirist and Dramatic Critic’, September 1848

Issue No. 2 Saturday, September 9, 1848 pages 10-11 THE GENEROSITY OF ENGLAND TO THE SCOTCH WE thought that when the majority of the Scottish Parliament voted for a union, that we were to possess equal privileges with Englishmen, not…

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Quotes from the Past: No. 2 ‘The Glasgow Satirist and Dramatic Critic’, August 1848

The Glasgow Satirist and Dramatic Critic - Published Fortnightly No. 1  Saturday, August 26, 1848 TO OUR READERS NOW-A-DAYS, nobody places the slightest faith in the numerous promises generally contained in an Introduction.  Therefore, without preface, we place our first…

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Quotes from Past, No. 1: ‘The Ant’, 10th February 1827

The Ant: A Periodical Paper Published in Glasgow during the Years 1826 and 1827 No. VI - Saturday, 10th February, 1827, page 47, 'The Heron Correspondence No. V': "The theatre remained closed for a few nights after, till Mr. Knowles,…

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Glasgow Public Library, General Annual Meeting of Subscribers, October 1830

An advertisement in the Herald, on Friday the 1st of October, 1830, provides information on the meeting of subscribers, to take place at the Library Hall, George Street, on Wednesday the 6th of October,  at 8 o'clock in the evening.…

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‘The Glasgow Free Press’ and James Sheridan Knowles

'Historical and Personal History of the Scottish Press, No. II, The Provincial Papers', Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country, volume 18, July to September, 1838, July, pages 75 to 85.   Page 80: "Mr. Sheridan Knowles, when teacher of elocution…

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Publication of James Sheridan Knowles’s ‘The Elocutionist’, December 1821.

On Monday December the 10th, 1821, the Glasgow Herald had an advertisement for the publication, that day, of James Sheridan Knowles's The Elocutionist. It was printed by James Hedderwick for Reid and Henderson, booksellers in Glasgow, among others. An edition…

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National Dramas: The First Number of a Series of Dramas, published November 1822

An advertisement in the Glasgow Herald, on Friday the 8th of November 1822, informed readers that, on that day, the First Number of a Series of Dramas, from the Novels and Tales of the author of Waverley, containing Rob Roy,…

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Thomas Atkinson: Glasgow Literary and Commercial Society

The Englishman's Magazine, from April to August inclusive, edited by E. Moxon, vol.1, 1831 'May', on page 259: "A packet from the Queen of the Clyde.  This slender gentleman "printed for private circulation" , sketches the origins and progress of…

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“A Literary Lounge”

In Literary Landmarks of Glasgow, 1898, James A. Kirkpartick names Chapter 14 "A Literary Lounge". He wrote:   "Sixty years ago there was a group of young authors - bards, story-tellers, song-writers, and the like - who passed for the…

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David Robertson (1795-1854), bookseller, the “John Murray of Glasgow”

Born in Perthshire in 1795, Robertson moved to Glasgow, where he became a successful and highly respected bookseller and publisher. He was appointed Her Majesty's bookseller for Glasgow in 1837. His monument is at the Glasgow Necropolis. For further biographical…

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James Sheridan Knowles’s Elocution Classes and Summer Course Premiums, November 1821

In the Glasgow Herald, Friday 2nd November 1821, page 3, James Sheridan Knowles advertised the opening of his Elocution classes on the 6th of November, at the usual times of 6 to 7, and 7 to 8 a.m., and from…

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University of Glasgow, Library Special Collections: D. S. Robertson Manuscripts

From the University's website: A collection of more than 700 handwritten poems and letters personally penned by two Renfrewshire poets, Robert Tannahill (1774-1810) and William Motherwell (1797-1835). Collected by the Glasgow bookseller and publisher David Robertson (1795-1854) and deposited in…

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Hugh Macdonald, ‘Rambles Round Glasgow: Descriptive, Historical, and Traditional’, 1860: Govan

On page 264, a description of Govan: "Altogether Govan has a genuine old world look, which is perfectly unique in these days of improvement and change. and which forms a not unpleasing contrast to the stiff though stately angularity of…

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David Robertson moves to new premises in 1830

An advertisement in the Glasgow Herald, Friday June 4th 1830, page 3, informed readers that David Robertson, late of Atkinson and Robertson, had moved to 188 Trongate, second shop east of Glassford Street, lately occupied by Messrs. Brown & Co.,…

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The Gaelic Academy, September 1829

The Gaelic Academy is advertised in the Herald, on Friday 18th September 1829, page 3. Duncan Kennedy proposed commencing classes in the "Rudiments of that Natural, Descriptive, and Poetic Language" in his Counting-Room, at 59 Oswald Street, Glasgow, on the…

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New Gaelic Dictionary: First Part just published by W. R. McPhun, December 1829

In the Herald, 4th of December 1829, page three, is an advertisement for the First Part of a Dictionary of the Gaelic Language, "containing more words than the Quarto Dictionaries, with their significations and various meanings in English, illustrated occasionally…

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William Euing (1788-1874) and his Library

  William Euing was one of the most important figures in Glasgow's cultural history. A wealthy insurance broker, his biographical sketch in Memoirs and Portraits of One Hundred Glasgow Men, 1886, divides his library into five sections: 1) Glasgow books,…

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William Motherwell (1797-1835), Poet, antiquary and journalist

Portrait of William Motherwell, by Andrew Henderson, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.   William Motherwell, the poet, antiquary and journalist was born in Glasgow.

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Alex. Molleson’s Circulating Library, Antigua-Place, Nelson-Street, May 1820

On page three of the Glasgow Herald, Friday 19th of May, 1820, is an advertisement for Alex. Molleson's Circulating Library. Informing his friends and members of the public that his Library is now open, the advert continues: "It contains a…

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Griffin’s Reading Room and Public Subscription Library, 64 Hutcheson Street, May 1829

On page three of the Glasgow Herald on the 15 of May 1829, R. Griffin and Co. informed readers that they had: "recently fitted up, immediately above their Library, an ELEGANT & COMMODIOUS NEWS ROOM, where the Subscribers are regularly…

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The Rev. W. M. Wade, “A Tour of Modern, and Peep into Ancient, Glasgow”, 1822: Glasgow’s New Town Recalls Images of Troy, Athens, Carthage and Rome

On the 6th of May 1822, Richard Griffiin & Co. advertised the publication, that day, of The Rev. W. M. Wade's A Tour of Modern, and Peep into Ancient, Glasgow; with an Historical Introduction, and a Statistical Appendix. An advert…

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Fraulein Hellwege’s Drawing-Room Reading, 7 Park Circus, Thursday 10th of April 1879

The advertisement on page one of The Glasgow Herald, 10th of April 1879, reads:   "FRAULEIN HELLWEGE will give a DRAWING-ROOM READING, selected from the Drama and Poetry (in German, English, and French), TO-NIGHT (THURSDAY), 10TH APRIL, at No 7…

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“The Glasgow Herald’s” May 1857 Review of ‘Wallace: A Tragedy in Five Acts’

On Wednesday the 13th of May, 1857, The Glasgow Herald reviewed Wallace: A Tragedy in Five Acts, on page two. The work was published by Richard Griffin & Co., in Glasgow. The opening paragraph of the review comments:   "This…

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Charles Dickens’s Readings at the City Hall, October 1858

Advertisements in The Glasgow Herald, including the 4th and 6th of October, 1858, informed its readers that, in the City Hall, Mr. Charles Dickens would read from the following works:   Chimes on the evening of Wednesday the 6th; The…

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Highland Mary’s Bibles, December 1840

In December 1840, The Glasgow Herald informed its readers that Robert Weir, a stationer in Glasgow's Queen Street, had "temporarily placed" in the newspaper's "possession a relic which will be considered of rare value by every lover of Scottish poetry…

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The Burns Centenary in Glasgow, January 1859: Royal Asylum, Gartnavel

Susan T. Crawford, View of Gartnavel Royal Hospital, etching. Reproduced courtesy of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Archives.   From page six of The Glasgow Herald, on Friday the 28th of January, 1859:   "Among the numerous centenary festivals which…

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Celebration of Sir Walter Scott’s Birthday in Glasgow, on the 15th of August, 1895

On page six of The Glasgow Herald, on Friday the 16th of August, 1895, the paper reported on the events which took place on the 15th, the birthday of Sir Walter Scott:   "CELEBRATION OF SIR WALTER SCOTT'S BIRTHDAY. -…

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The Movement for Beautiful Speech, November 1923

From page three of The Glasgow Herald, on Thursday the 29th of November, 1923:   "THE MOVEMENT FOR BEAUTIFUL SPEECH The group of students of Miss Marjorie Gullan, Glasgow, who recently took part in the Oxford Recitations, will give a…

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Entertainment of Poorhouse Inmates, November 1923

On page seven of The Glasgow Herald, on Thursday the 29th of November 1923, the papers readers were informed that:   "A cheque for £50 7s 10d has been forwarded by Miss Ella Provan, elocutionist, through Mr G. M. Holmes…

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Letters to the Editor: The Ruins of Kelvingrove House, March 1900

A letter, from J. S. Lindsay, 2 Glasgow Street, Hillhead, and dated March 17, 1900, was published on page nine of The Glasgow Herald, on Wednesday the 21st of March. It reads:   "I had a look to-day at the…

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Death of “The Skye Poetess”: Mairi MacPherson (1821-98), and Some Reminiscences, November 1898

On page seven of The Glasgow Herald, on Wednesday the 9th of November, 1898, is the obituary of Màiri (Mary) MacPherson (1821-98), "popularly known as 'The Skye Poetess'," who died at Portree, Skye, on Monday the 7th. She was a…

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Govan Parish Young Men’s Literary Association: “Khartoum at Last”, a Lecture by Frederic Villiers, November 1898

Frederic Villiers, in 1894.   In November 1898, Frederic Villiers (1851-1922), the British war artist and war correspondent was in Govan. This was reported on page six of The Glasgow Herald, on Wednesday the 9th:   "KHARTOUM AT LAST." -…

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Annual Meeting of the Glasgow Caithness Literary Association, April 1898

From page six of The Glasgow Herald, on Wednesday the 6th of April, 1898:   "GLASGOW CAITHNESS LITERARY ASSOCIATION. - The annual meeting of the Glasgow Caithness Literary Association was held last night - Mr Marr Grieve, president, in the…

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Miss Helen G. Thomson’s Readings at the Corporation Galleries, November 1882

From page six of The Glasgow Herald, on Friday the 10th of November, 1882:   "MISS THOMSON'S READINGS.- Miss Helen G. Thomson, of Helensburgh, who seeks public recognition as an elocutionist and dramatic reader, gave an exhibition of her qualifications…

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Caledonia Road U. P. Church Literary Association, October 1878

From page four of The Glasgow Herald, on Tuesday the 8th of October, 1878:   "CALEDONIA ROAD U. P. CHURCH LITERARY ASSOCIATION.- The opening address of this association was delivered yesterday evening, in the hall adjoining the church, by the…

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Sale of the Library of the Late Joseph Bain, Esq., Advocate, F. S. S. A., etc., etc., at Barclay and Skirving’s Sale Rooms, 164, Trongate, Glasgow, January 1833

An advertisement on page three of the Glasgow Herald, on Friday the 4th of January, 1833, about the sale of the late Joseph Bain's library. The auction was scheduled to commence on Monday the 7th of January, and "seven successive…

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Mr. James Hedderwick Junior’s Reading and Recitation Summer Classes, Commencing on Thursday the 1st of May, 1834, at the Class-Room, 266 George Street, Glasgow

There is an advertisement for Hedderwick's Summer classes on page three of the Glasgow Herald, on Monday the 28th of April, 1834. It reads:   "READING & RECITATION. SUMMER CLASSES. MR. JAMES HEDDERWICK, JUN., respectfully announces, that his SUMMER CLASSES…

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Glasgow Ladies’ Popular Class for the Diffusion of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge, Mr. Dorsey’s Explanatory Address, September 1833

From page three of the Glasgow Herald, on Friday the 13th of September, 1833:   "GLASGOW LADIES' POPULAR CLASS, For the Diffusion of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge.   AN ADDRESS, explanatory of the objects of the above Institution, will be…

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Ornamental Penmanship: Specimen of Plain and Ornamental Penmanship, Designed by Mr. Wyper, and Engraved by Mr. Swan, January 1832

A short notice on page two of the Glasgow Herald, on Monday the 2nd of January reads:   "Ornamental Penmanship.- We have just seen a beautiful specimen of plain and ornamental penmanship, designed and written by Mr. Wyper, teacher of…

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Veritas: Memories of the Real John McKie, aka Myops and “Hairy-Cheeks”

For those of us who attended Hutchesons' Boys' Grammar School in the 1960s and early 1970s, the prospect of having John McKie as a teacher, in the secondary level, was not a good one. I was lucky to have Joseph…

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Italian Literary Society of Glasgow, April 1873

A short notice on page four of The Glasgow Herald, on Tuesday the 15th of April, 1873, reads:   "ITALIAN SERMON.—A sermon in the Italian language was preached on Sunday evening in the Religious Institution Rooms, by Signor Guiseppe [sic]…

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Glasgow Athenaeum Lectures, December 1873: Miss Emily Faithfull

  Miss Emily Faithfull (1835-95), the English women's rights activist, and publisher.   An article on page three of The Glasgow Herald, on Wednesday the 17th of December, 1873, under SOIREES, LECTURES, &c., reads:   "ATHENAEUM LECTURES.—Last night, Miss Emily…

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The Late Mr James Moir’s Bequest to the Mitchell Library, December 1880

A short notice on page four of The Glasgow Herald, on Tuesday the 14th of December, 1880, reads: "THE LATE MR JAMES MOIR. - We understand that the late Mr James Moir by his will, after making ample provision for…

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Foulis Library Proposal, March 1866

An article on page two of The Glasgow Herald, on Tuesday the 6th of March, 1866, reads:   "FOULIS LIBRARY. - We have pleasure in directing attention to a proposal which has just been announced for a collection of a…

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Glasgow Young Men’s Christian Association Lectures: Mr. William Moffat, in the City Hall, on Tuesday the 30th of October, 1866

An article on page four of The Glasgow Herald, on Wednesday the 31st of October, 1866, reads:   "GLASGOW YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION LECTURES. - The fifth of the present season's lectures was delivered in the City Hall yesterday evening,…

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Grand Fancy Bazaar in Aid of the Funds of the Library of the Glasgow Athenaeum, Ingram Street, on Wednesday and Thursday the 22nd and 23rd of March, 1848

An advertisement for the Bazaar is on page two of The Glasgow Herald, on Monday the 20th of March, 1848. It was held in the Hall of the Institution, and was "Under the Especial Patronage of Her Majesty the Queen."…

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November 1855: Free St. David’s Young Men’s Literary Society

An article on page four of The Glasgow Herald, on Friday the 9th of November, 1855, reads:   "Free St. David's Young Men's Literary Society. - This society resumed its meetings for the session on Friday evening last, in the…

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November 1855: the Tontine Reading Rooms

An article on page four of The Glasgow Herald, on Friday the 9th of November, 1855, reads:   "Tontine Reading Rooms: - It will be observed from an advertisement that the subscription book of these rooms for the ensuing year…

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Entertainment at Gartnavel, February 1866: Mr. George Roy

An article on page four of The Glasgow Herald, on Saturday the 10th of February, 1866, reads:   "ENTERTAINMENT AT GARTNAVEL. - On Thursday evening last there took place one of those entertainments which have now become a pleasant institution…

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Gaelic Society of Glasgow, October 1902

An article on page six of The Glasgow Herald, on Thursday the 30th of October, 1902, reads:   "GAELIC SOCIETY OF GLASGOW. - The annual social gathering of the Gaelic Society of Glasgow was held on Tuesday evening in the…

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