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Papers of Sir John Graham Dalyell

Identifier: Coll-244

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of some 158 volumes of notebooks of manuscript notes and printed matter. The subjects of the notebooks are wide and varied: antiquities, superstitions, human society, tours, musical practice, natural history, rare and remarkable animals, properties of animals, terabella littoralis, ichthology, the will of the creator, the power of the creator, experiments and observations, punishments, and extracts from records. There are references and bibliographies too. The printed matter includes: brief analysis of the records of and chartularies of Moray, Cambuskenneth, Ibbotson'sPractical view of an invention for protecting banknotes against forgery(1820), Kay'sDescriptive catalogue of original portraits(1836), and the instructions for Edinburgh of the city police. There are also 4 packets of original drawings forRare and remarkable animalsandThe powers of the Creator. For this collection, there is a list of the manuscripts with Gen. 350D


  • 19th century

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Biographical / Historical

John Graham Dalyell, antiquary and naturalist, was born at Binns, near Linlithgow, in West Lothian, in August 1775. He was educated at St. Andrews and then at Edinburgh University and became qualified for the Scottish legal system and, in 1796, a member of the Faculty of Advocates. He also acquired a knowledge of antiquarian lore and of natural history. In 1797, Dalyell was elected to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and became the first vice-President of the Society. He was also a member of the Society of Arts for Scotland, serving as president in 1839-40. His publications includeFragments of Scottish history(1798), the two volumes ofScottish poems of the sixteenth century(1801), the illustratedObservations on several species of planeriae(1814), the engraved two volumes ofRare and remarkable animals of Scotland(1847), andThe powers of the Creator displayed in the Creation, or, Observations on life amidst the various forms of the humbler tribes of animated nature(1851). Dalyell was a member of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, and he was also one of the original promoters of a Zoological Gardens for Edinburgh. Dalyell was knighted on 22 August 1836, and on 1 February 1841 he succeeded to the family title as 6th Baronet of Binns. Sir John Graham Dalyell died at Great King Street in Edinburgh on 7 June 1851.


2 boxes, circa 150 volumes (2 linear metre).

Physical Location

Gen. 350-516D

Outsize items (Gen.517, 518, and 506D) in 505.24.6.6

Related Materials

The local Indexes show other references to Dalyell letters (check the Indexes for more details): at Gen. 1790, no. 10; and, in La.IV.17. In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: correspondence with Archibald Constable, between 1788-1827, at the National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, Reference MS 671.
Papers of Sir John Graham Dalyell (1775-1851)

Repository Details

Part of the Edinburgh University Library Special Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379