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The Chalmers Collection

Identifier: MS CHA


  • Creation: 1762 - 1980


Language of Materials


English shorthand

Conditions Governing Access

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers at Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh Main Library, George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LJ. Contact repository in advance:

Biographical / Historical

This large collection of papers relating to Rev Dr Thomas Chalmers (1780-1846), the first Principal and Professor of Divinity at New College, was donated to New College Liibrary in two stages. In 1939, William Gemmill Chalmers Hanna (1879-1945), grandson of Rev Dr William Hanna (1808-1882) and Anne Hanna née Chalmers (1813-1891) (the eldest daughter of Thomas Chalmers) handed over 34 bound volumes of letters addressed to Thomas Chalmers, a quantity of his own letters, and his journals and working papers. In 1963, Hanna's niece Marjorie Penney (Anne Marjorie Crosthwait née Penney, 1924-2012) added a large quantity of family papers, including letters and documents concerning Chalmers' ancestors, parents, brothers and sisters at Anstruther, and correspondence between his wife and six daughters and their families. In time the collection ranges from 1762 to the 1980s, and the work which has been done on it between 1971 and 1993 has produced well over 20,000 catalogue entries.


153 boxes

65 Volumes


The collection has been arranged as follows:

MS CHA 1 Chalmers Family Documents

MS CHA 2 Thomas Chalmers’ family letters

MS CHA 3 Thomas Chalmers’ letters

MS CHA 4 Correspondence

MS CHA 5 Special Collections eg Church Extension papers

MS CHA 6 Manuscript writings and papers

MS CHA 7 Photocopies of letters in the possession of Mrs Barbara Campbell

MS CHA Appendix Boxes 1 to 11

Physical Facet

Access to records in a fragile condition may be restricted.

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the New College Library Special Collections Repository

New College
Mound Place
Edinburgh EH1 2LU. Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379