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Papers of Alexander Low Bruce

Identifier: Coll-721

Scope and Contents

The papers contain: copies of letters of William Ewing of the Scottish Exploration Company to Alexander Low Bruce and to Cecil J. Rhodes; letters, telegraphs, banquet seating plan; a letter-book; diary of Bruce'sAmerican journey 1873; an album of newspaper cuttings; and, a memoriam volume.


  • Creation: 1873-1893

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

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

Biographical / Historical

Alexander Low Bruce was a native of Edinburgh and was born in 1839. He was educated at the city's Royal High School and then received business training in a Leith office. When still a teenager he entered the employment of William Younger, brewers. He went to London becoming a branch manager for the firm at St Paul's wharf, Upper Thames Street. In 1873 he went to the USA to take orders for the firm's products and while there he kept a diary of this extensive tour (which included New York, Boston, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec, Chicago, Omaha, St Louis, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and New Orleans). In 1876, Bruce married David Livingstone's daughter Agnes. In Edinburgh again, he became a partner then deputy chairman of Younger's. Bruce was deeply interested in the commercial expansion of the British Empire and travelled to Africa in furtherance of this. He was also a keen admirer of the work of the Louis Pasteur whom he had met when French scientist visited the city in 1884. He resolved to make a gesture to the University in memory of Pasteur's visit by promoting the founding of a Chair in the new discipline of Public Health. He did not live to see this however. Alexander Low Bruce died on 27 November 1893.


4 volumes, 2 envelopes or folders.

Physical Location

MSS 2499/11-16

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

Cuttings, American journey 1873, letters, telegraphs, memoriam, acquired from Professor G. Shepperson, October 1988, Accession nos. E88.145-148. Ewing letters, acquired from Professor G. Shepperson, February 1989, Accession no. E89.19. Letter-book, acquired from Professor G. Shepperson, March 1990, Accession no. E90.20.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Materials

The UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes Bruce related material: 1858-93: correspondence and papers relating to business and politics, 1858-1893, National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, Ref. Acc 11777.

Papers of Alexander Low Bruce (1839-1893)
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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