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Edinburgh University Archives is part of Special Collections within the Centre for Research Collections at the University of Edinburgh We are responsible for looking after the historical records of the University and related bodies and as such we look after the corporate memory of the University.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Crowd Control

The following letter was sent, we think to Prof T. C. Hope, Professor of Chemistry, by a student in 1844. Student misbehaviour is nothing new!

Dear Sir,

You cannot but have observed, and been annoyed, at the constant disorderly contact of some of the young gentleman of your class. You have hitherto been too forbearing to take any notice of it but I trust you will allow me to prefer the request (in which I am sure the majority of my fellow students join) that you would be so kind as to endeavour, by some means or other, to put a stop to a recurrence of it for to say nothing of the great annoyance it must be to yourself.

I am sure you will agree that it really is "trop mal" that those who are anxious to pay attention to the Lectures should be prevented from doing so by the few juveniles who perch themselves on the upper seats for no earthly purpose but childishly amuse themselves during the whole Lecture by throwing paper balls and creating a disturbance to the no small annoyance of their more peaceable neighbours - Trusting you will excuse this communication.

Yours with the greatest of respect,

One of your Class

Feb'y 15th 1844

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jobs for the girls

A recent enquiry threw light on the richness of information contained in the minutes of Library Committee. The enquiry itself related to Marjory Foljambe Hall, daughter of Hubert Hall, Assistant Keeper of the Public Record Office in London, who was meant to have been employed circa 1917/1918 as a Librarian at the University of Edinburgh.

As she was not listed in the University Calendar, the post must have been below that of Assistant Librarian. There was a chance that the appointment would have been noted at Library Committee, but it was not expected that there would be much detail.

On locating the relevant minute however it was found that the section dealing with Miss Hall's appointment occupied almost a full page, giving information both on her and the method by which she was appointed.

A vacancy had occurred due the departure of a member of cataloguing staff to get married. At the suggestion of Prof. Peter Hume Brown, the Librarian, Frank Carr Nicholson, wrote to Hubert Hall on the basis that he was aware Hall's daughter was looking for a post. The responses received from both Hubert and Marjory were read before the committee. The minutes note:

"It appeared from these documents that Miss Hall had done a considerable amount of work at the Record Office and for the Royal Historical Society, and that she had gone through a course of Library training, palaeography etc. The Committee were of the opinion that her qualifications were exceptionally good."

She was at a salary of seven pounds per month plus War bonus of ten pounds per annum. Unfortunately her contract was terminated at the end of May 1918, following a decision to suspend indefinitely the printing of the Library Catalogue.

The enquirer informed us that Marjory went on to work at the National Library of Wales before becoming a nun.

[University of Edinburgh Library Committee, Ref: EUA IN1/COM/L1]

Monday, April 4, 2011

What's in a Diploma?

We often get enquiries about what individual courses comprised. From 1858, the annual University Calendar is usually the best source of information on this. For example, the Diploma in Psychiatry in 1936 is summarised as follows:

The Diploma consisted of 325 hours of course time, broken into two parts.

Part 1:

1) Anatomy and the Nervous System (20 hours), Prof. Brash & Demonstrators
2) Physiology of the Nervous System (20 hours), Prof. de Burgh Daly & Lecturers
3) Psychology and Experimental Psychology (50 hours), Prof. Drever

Part 2:

1) Neuro-Pathology and Serological Methods (40 hours), Prof. Drennan & Dr. Biggart, lecturer
2) Clinical Neurology (80 hours), Prof. Bramwell
3) Clinical Psychiarty (115 hours), Prof. Henderson

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The 31 Club

The 31 club was a small group formed by the Honours Classics graduates at the University in 1931, to "perpetuate friendships made by the members while they were Classical students at Edinburgh University". They first met in May 1931 and thereafter regularly for the next four years.

A small reunion in 1966 is next minuted, then 1991. By the time of the meeting in 1991, six 'survivors' are named, including the late Prof. William Montgomery Watt (1909-2006).

We have just taken custody of the archives of the club.

Friday, January 7, 2011