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The Ephemera of John Smith
by Adam McNaughton

Introduction Transport Political Church Trade Entertainment Crime Education Medical CityAffairs


Leaflet for a library and museum (detail)

The first leaf of an original two-leaved form announcing the proposed subscription library and museum of the Andersonian University. The missing leaf was blank.

This is page 1 of a two-page letter announcing the opening of the library and museum of Anderson's University to non-members of the University for an entrance fee of one guinea (1.05) and an annual subscription of half a guinea.

Until 1828 the university had been housed in fairly cramped accommodation in John Street. In that year they opened in the former grammar school buildings in George Street and built a new two-storey circular building in what had been the school playground.

This gave them space to open the library and museum with the books and specimens which Anderson had bequeathed. The Museum was housed on the upper floor of the new building, above the main lecture hall.


Prospectus for Glasgow Collegiate School, 1842 (detail)

This is the first page of a three-page prospectus setting out the aims and curriculum of a new school.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the High School of Glasgow had changed to a system of separate subjects offered independently. Students could attend the school for a single subject. There was no Rector to give a coherence to the curriculum. The Collegiate School was a response to dissatisfaction with this.

The Collegiate School was to be on the model of an English Public School. The Protestant religion was to be central, though the Head Master was at pains to point out it would not be sectarian. The three masters listed all came from the English system. Arrangements were in hand to provide boarding facilities.

The names on the committee were calculated to give confidence, headed by Archibald Alison and the Lord Provost. In 1854 the school was taken over by Archibald Morrison and the curriculum expanded to include modern and mercantile subjects.


Leaflet announcing John Smith's Reading Room, Glasgow

Lithographed leaflet with illustration of shops. There are adhesion marks on the left edge from previous binding. The item is soiled and dusty.

In 1827 John Smith (not to be confused with John Smith and Son) added a reading room to his circulating library business. Such rooms provided readers with a wider selection of papers and reviews than they would buy. Smith obviously regarded the site beside the Post Office as a good one.

John Smith later expanded his library by taking over from John Smith and Son the Glasgow Circulating Library of some fifteen thousand volumes.

The illustration shows also the Post Office, John Younger's shoemaker's shop and Murray's shoe shop. On the other side of the Post Office was the Lyceum Rooms, a literary institution where newspapers were also taken.

Use the toolbar below to see more of Smith's ephemera, following the themed links

Introduction Transport Political Church Trade Entertainment Crime Education Medical CityAffairs


Text by Adam McNaughton and web editing by Julie Gardham July 2004

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