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Papers of James Cossar Ewart

Identifier: Coll-14

Scope and Contents


  1. Coll-14/1 - Medals, including those presented at school in Penicuik and while at Edinburgh University. There are also medals won for prize animals at various shows;
  2. Coll-14/2 - Certifcates, Diplomas and Letters of Appointment, including Ewart's medical qualification certificates, and his commission of appointment to the Regius Professorship of Natural History at the University of Edinburgh;
  3. Coll-14/3 - Biographical Papers, including testimonials and press cutting book of obituary notices;
  4. Coll-14/4 - Photographs and illustrations, including photographs of Professor Ewart himself and staff and of his zebra hybrids;
  5. Coll-14/5 - Reports and papers, including Ewart's introductory lecture at Aberdeen University (1879) and his lecture programme for the Graduate School of Agriculture, Iowa;
  6. Coll-14/6 - Press-Cutting Books spanning the years 1878-1899;
  7. Coll-14/7 - Lecture notes and printed works;
  8. Coll-14/8 - Notebooks and Diaries, including logs of breeding experiments (1901-1909), personal diary (1870-1880) and visitors' book (1895-1898);
  9. Coll-14/9 - Correspondence with individuals such as F.H.A Marshall, J. Burdon Sanderson and D'Arcy Thompson spanning the years 1875-1935.


  • Creation: 1866-1935


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Director of Collections.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.


2.5 linear metres (11 'A boxes; 1 'D' box)


The collection was arranged and listed in the Department of Zoology before being deposited in Edinburgh University Library in 1954. Much of the order and system of arrangement has been maintained.

Physical Location

CLX-A-1129-CLX-A-1139; CLX-D-15.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The James Cossar Ewart Collection was deposited in Edinburgh University Main Library on 22 April 1954. It was transferred there from the Department of Zoology, who had been bequeathed the collection by Cossar Ewart's widow, Edith Fairlie Ewart (nee Muir). The Department received the papers from Messrs. McAndrew, Wright and Murray, W.S., Edinburgh, on 17 November 1953.


The collection was appraised upon receipt by the Department of Zoology, before its deposit in the University Library.


Further accruals unlikely.

Existence and Location of Originals

This material is original.

Existence and Location of Copies

No known copies.

Related Materials

Related material held in Edinburgh University Library Special Collections:

Pam.1339 – 1341: volumes of Cossar Ewart's pamphlets and offprints on biological subjects. Some of them are stamped, some are inscribed to him from their authors.

Coll-1434: Roslin Institute glass slide collection, which contains glass positive slides depicting a variety of different subjects. The provenance of these slides is unknown, although a sizeable proportion of them appear to be Ewart's, and were probably used for teaching purposes.

Related material held in other institutions:

National Library of Scotland: Accession 12908: Papers of Gavin Ewart (James Cossar Ewart's grandson), particularly No. 114: Genealogy/Ewart family papers.

Separated Materials

Some material from the Department of Zoology, including lecture notes taken down by a student of Ewart's, was transferred along with the collection. In keeping with its separate provenance, this material has been separated out and given the reference Coll-1738.


C. Button, "James Cossar Ewart and the Origins of the Animal Breeding Research Department in Edinburgh, 1895–1920", Journal of the History of Biology (2017), 1-33,


  1. Ashworth, J.H. and F. Fraser Darling, 'A Bibliography of the Works of James Cossar Ewart', Supplement to Animal Breeding Abstracts, Vol. I, (Edinburgh, 1934);
  2. Birse, Ronald M., Science at the University of Edinburgh 1583-1993, (Edinburgh, 1994);
  3. Marshall, F.H.A., James Cossar Ewart (1851-1933) in Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society, Vol. 1, No. 3 (December 1934), pp. 189-195;
  4. Ritvo, Harriet, 'Understanding Audiences and Misunderstanding Audiences: Some Publics for Science' in Science Serialized: Representation of the Sciences of the Nineteenth Century, ed.s Geoffrey Cantor and Sally Shuttleworth (Cambridge MA, 2004), pp.331-349;
  5. Robertson, Forbes W., 'Genetics', from Two Hundred Years of the Biological Sciences in Scotland, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 84B, 211-229 (1983).

Processing Information

Catalogued by Clare Button between December 2012 and May 2013.

Papers of James Cossar Ewart
Language of description
Script of description

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