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Collection of Poems by William Soutar

Identifier: Coll-796

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of: four bundles of poems, each simply bound, with titlesConflict,Earth,Quest, andEpigrams; 4 separate signed poems; 1 letter to William Morrison, editor ofThe Scots Observersubmitting the typescript of some poems, 1934; and, six news cuttings giving a background to his life and poetry.


  • 1923-1943

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

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

Biographical / Historical

William Soutar was born on 28 April 1898. He was the son of John Soutar, a Perth joiner and contractor. He was educated at the Southern District School and at Perth Academy. From 1916 he served in the navy and was demobilised in 1919. Soutar then went to Edinburgh University and graduated in 1923 and it was during this period that his poetry emerged, his first collection beingGleanings by an undergraduate(1923). Soutar 'invented' the 'whigmaleerie', a poetical 'whim, a fantastical notion'. He was crippled during his life with spondylitis and was bedridden by 1930. William Soutar died of tubercolosis in Perth on 15 October 1943.


1 bound file (with 4 bundles, 4 signed poems, 1 letter, newspaper cuttings).

Physical Location

Gen 2005

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material purchased from Updike, 1976, Accession no. E76.33.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Materials

The local Indexes show various references to Soutar related material (check the Indexes for more details): letter to H. B. Cruickshank about C. M. Grieve's stay in hospital in Perth, 1935, mentioned in a letter of Valda Grieve, 1935, in Gen. 886, ff.35 and 32; the Collected poems of William Soutar by Hugh MacDiarmid mentioned in a letter of C. M. Grieve to H. B. Cruickshank, 1945, in Gen. 886, f.94-95; postcard from Soutar to Cruickshank about Lewis Grassic Gibbon's death, 1935, in Gen. 1929/11; and. death of Soutar mentioned in a letter of Grieve to R. Crombie Saunders, 1943, in Gen. 2001/14. In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes material at the National Library of Scotland, Manuscript Collections.
Collection of Poems by William Soutar (1898-1943)
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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