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Papers of George Goudie Chisholm

Identifier: Coll-68

Scope and Contents

The Papers of George Goudie Chisholm include dictates of Professor Masson (Rhetoric and the History of English Literature) taken by Chisholm; other notes and essays on a variety of geographical topics; calculations and statistics; terms and notes for his Gazetteer (1895); notes on the construction of maps for Handbook of commercial geography (1889); and, notes, queries, and heads of paragraphs for his school geographies. There are also detailed notes for a series of lectures for his course on commercial geography and history; notes for his honours course at Edinburgh University, 1910; diary of teaching, exams etc., Edinburgh University and Moray House, 1910-18; student class marks, 1898-1901; and, various other notes and lecture notes.


  • Creation: 1867-1930


Conditions Governing Access

Open. Please contact the repository in advance.

Biographical / Historical

George Goudie Chisholm was born in Edinburgh on 1 May 1850. He was educated at the city's Royal High School, and studied at the University of Edinburgh where he graduated MA in 1870. He had a gift for languages and was able to function in Latin, Greek, French, German and Italian. He started out on a literary career working in the editorial department of publishers W.G. Blackie & Son (Glasgow).

Chisholm left for London in 1881, and apart from taking the degree of B.Sc. in Natural Sciences in Edinburgh in 1883, London was to be his home until 1908. Specialising in Geography, he became a University Extension Lecturer, and established for himself a solid reputation in the subject. With the setting up of a Lectureship in Geography at Edinburgh University in 1908, Chisholm was the obvious choice. He became Reader in 1921. His first geographical work was The two hemispheres (1882). Around the same time, the Royal Geographical Society had come to realise that Geography was badly neglected in Britain in comparison to European countries, both in the universities and in schools. Chisolm however was already prepared for the task of advancing the status of the subject. A series of school geographies was prepared, and a school atlas. Other more ambitious works were Handbook of commercial geography (1889), and Gazetteer of the world (1895) which later became known as The Times gazetteer.

Chisholm retired from Edinburgh University in 1923. He had long been the Secretary of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

George Goudie Chisholm died in Edinburgh on 9 February 1930.


131 notebooks (1 linear metre).


Chisholm’s bound notebooks have been re-grouped according to Chisholm’s own combined letter/numbering system (noted in parentheses at the end of each entry) insofar as this can now be ascertained. They are arranged in a broadly chronological series, but note that unused portions in some notebooks were re-used at a later date. Clearly, not all series are complete. Many notebooks probably comprise material for Chisholm’s Handbook of Commercial Geography (1889, and later editions). Most of the notebooks include a rough index.

[For discussion see M.J. Wise, ‘A university teacher of geography’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (Nov. 1975)].

Physical Location

Gen. 1060/1-131

Related Materials

Also at Special Collections, Edinburgh University Library, 'Copies of material relating to the life and work of George Goudie Chisholm (1850-1930), drawn together by Professor Thomas Walter Freeman (1908-1988)', E2011.11.

The Index to Manuscripts shows a reference to notes of lectures on Geology by Professor Geikie taken down by Chisholm, at Dc.10.22-23.

Processing Information

Catalogue created by Andrew Grout in June 1998; keyed into ArchivesSpace by Jack Green in June 2020.

Papers of George Goudie Chisolm (1850-1930)
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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
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Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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