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Papers of Rosalind Mary Mitchison

Identifier: Coll-1066

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of a variety of material in manuscript and typescript form, and the content includes off-prints and other published matter. The collection is of academic material, letters from publishers and societies, and some personal letters, cards and reprographics.

More particularly, there is:

  1. Margaret Wrong's literacy work and the Remaking of Woman in Africa, 1929-48, by Ruth Compton Brouwer / in Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Vol.23., No.3., pp.427-452. London: Frank Cass (off-print);
  2. Extended family tree, showing descendants of Henry Brinton, including Emily J. Brinton who married John F. Baird, parents of Emily C. Baird, and transcript of letter from E.M.Wrong to President of Magdalen, Oxford, 25-01-1928;
  3. Letter relating to Baird material, written London 28-03-1989, together with typescript copy ofChronicle written by Emily Constance Baird in her eighteenth year, 1874. 27pp., and typescript copy ofMy times are in thy hands, a diary, Mary F. Baird. 9pp. 3pp (incomplete?), and second copy, typescript, ofMy times are in thy hands, diary, Mary F. Baird. 9pp. 44pp., and a collection typescript transcripts Baird letters 1877-79. 9pp. (incomplete?) with letter attached, May 29, and a collection typescript transcripts of Baird letters 1877. 19pp. 10pp;
  4. Letters, manuscript and typescript, Leeds, October 5, North Vancouver, Sept 1988, Overijse, Belgium, 1988, and a collection of copies manuscript letters, 1901-1903, together with letters to Lionel, and letters from Raymond, addressed from: Marshall's Wick, St.Albans / Eaton Grey, Malmesbury, Wilts. / SS China / 20 Cavendish Sq. / Slains Castle, Aberdeenshire / Carnavon / St. Salvator's, St. Andrews / All Souls College, Oxford;
  5. Copy of Conference Report, The Scottish Records Association, No.14., Sept. 1990,Soldiering through the records, 38pp;
  6. Incomplete collection of papers, being Charles Wrong writing about Ruari, 1987. 7pp (p.1 missing), and Wrong family letters;
  7. Typescript letter to Mitchison from Ballinluig, 11-04-1991, about the Parish of Dowally;
  8. Several sheafs of word-processed material/chapters Scottish history, and assorted manuscript and typescript notes on chapter structure, along with several printed material/reviews ofThe old poor law in Scotland, and notes/chapter notes on poor relief/poor law;
  9. Collection of letters 1994-2001 mainly about publishing and material, but includes letters to Murdoch Mitchison from Solicitors re: Deed of Variation (Lady Naomi Mitchison) 1999-2000 and material relating to sale of Carradale House, Kintyre, the late home of Naomi Mitchison, also letter relating to health matters, also postcard and Christmas card;
  10. Assorted letters, business in nature, some relating to subscriptions and donations, assorted letters from publishers re: work on poor law in Scotland, letters about corrections etc;
  11. Letters relating to reprint of Scottish history workWhy Scottish History Matters, and other letters relating to East Lothian historical society interests;
  12. Assorted printed matter and letters relating to other interests, and some cards, reprographic (Mitchison at Guislich, October 1998);
  13. Off-print ofThe making of the old Scottish poor law;
  14. Assorted letters 1992-2001, chapter notes, word-processed notes.


  • Creation: 1877-2001

Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

Rosalind Mary Wrong was born on 11 April 1919. She was the eldest daughter of the Oxford mathematician Edward Murray Wrong (1889-1928) and Rosalind Grace Wrong (Smith) (1892-1983), and grand-daughter of the Canadian historian George M. Wrong (1860-1948). She was educated at Dragon School, Oxford, 1926-1931, St. Paul's Girls School, Hammersmith, 1931-1932, and at Channing School, Highgate, 1934-1938. She then studied Mathematics and Modern History at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, 1938-1942. After her own university studies, she became an Assistant Lecturer at Manchester University in 1943, and then Tutor at Lady Margaret Hall in 1946. Part-time tutoring at Cambridge's Pembroke and Girton Colleges followed, then in June 1947 Rosalind Mary Wrong married the scientist John Murdoch Mitchison, son of novelist and poet Naomi M. Mitchison (1897-1999). In 1953, the couple moved to Edinburgh with their growing family. J. Murdoch Mitchison was appointed Professor of Zoology, Edinburgh University, in 1963.

Shortly after the move, Rosalind Mary Mitchison became an Assistant at the History Department, Edinburgh University in 1954, and then from 1958 she was a part-time Assistant at Economic History. From 1959 she did part-time work for the History of Parliament Trust, and then from 1962 she taught at the Scottish History Department, Glasgow University. In 1966 Mitchison was teaching part-time at Edinburgh University again, and then in 1967 she became a Lecturer in Economic History, then Reader in 1976. One of her students had been the politician, Gordon Brown. In 1981, Mitchison was appointed Professor of Social History at the University.

Mitchison's publications spanned seven decades from the 1940s to 2001, and include:Agricultural Sir John(1962);A history of Scotland(1970);Life in Scotland(1978);Lordship to patronage: Scotland 1603-1745(1983);Why Scottish history matters(1990); and,The old poor law in Scotland(2000).

Mitchison officially retired in 1986 but continued to research, teach, write and publish, holding a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship until 1988. Rosalind Mary Mitchison died in Edinburgh on 20 September 2002, and she was cremated on 30 September 2002.

Mitchison had been described as 'the 20th century's foremost exponent of the social history of Scotland' (The Daily Telegraph, 24 September 2002), and by Tam Dalyell as 'a pioneering social historian' (The Independent21 October 2002).


1 box (9 files)

Physical Location


Papers of Rosalind Mary Mitchison (1919-2002)
Language of description
Script of description
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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