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Manuscript commonplace book compiled by M Massey, York Place

Identifier: Coll-1546

Scope and Contents

The commonplace book may have been the work of M. Massy, York Place, Edinburgh - the name inscribed in first page. The written material contains original and transcribed matter. It is bound in original decorative brown morocco with all page edges gilt. There are gilt inner dentelles with repeated flower and urn design. Gilt spine and cover designs.

There are clipped illustrations showing: the Gile Callum broadsword dance; Scottish Games, Tossing the caber; Clan Cameron; Clan Murray; Clan Robertson; Scotch reel; Holyrood Palace; Linlithgow Palace; Melrose Abbey; Dunkeld Cathedral; a 92nd Highlander; Mary Queen of Scots; Loch Tay; Loch Earn; Loch Acray; Loch Lomond; Loch Katrine; George Hotel, Melrose; Birnham Hotel, Dunkeld; Trossachs New Hotel; and, city and town views of Aberdeen, Stirling, Dunkeld, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Ayr. There are also Irish views e.g. Wicklow and several hand-painted views.

There are several colour fashion illustrations with real material dresses that can be lifted to show the underclothing. In addition there are contemporary photographs including an unnamed woman and a photograph of the Hotel Royal, Nice.

The written contains: a transcription of a 'Dialogue between a cynic and a lover', dated 1864; and, lines from 'Gli occhi azzurri e Gli occhi neri' by Aurelio Bertola. There are also musings on friendship and cousins, and is transcribed in different hands.


  • Creation: 1860-1870

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance of visit.

Biographical / Historical

Commonplace books (or commonplaces) were a way of compiling knowledge, usually by writing information into books. The books were, in effect, scrapbooks filled with items such as medical recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables, proverbs, prayers, legal and mathematical formulas. Commonplaces were used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts that had been learned. Every commonplace book was unique to the particular interests of the creator.

In this instance, the commonplace book concerns itself largely with Scottish themes.


1 volume

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired by purchase. Accession no: E2014.35.

Processing Information

Catalogued by Graeme D. Eddie 6 June 2014

19th century manuscript commonplace book with a Scottish theme
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

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