Thomas ReidSummary list of the manuscripts of Thomas Reid (1710-1796) known as the Birkwood Collection.
(MSS. 2131/1-8)


The collection comprises over 800 items relating to the writings and teachings of Thomas Reid. The manuscripts range from fair copies of papers on specific topics to miscellaneous research notes, abstracts of works read, and occasional mathematical calculations. The first interim catalogue provided for Aberdeen University Library was compiled by A. T. W. Liddell in 1958. The manuscripts had by this time already lost their original coherence, and Liddell 's identification of the relationship between different lecture notes and drafts of papers prompted the first efforts to re establish a logical sequence within the collection. This work was continued by D. Fate Norton, to the extent that in 1977 a new location list was provided, relating the recent physical rearrangements of the papers to that described in Liddell's catalogue. The present list does not attempt any further reorganization of the papers, but combines the information provided by the earlier finding aids in what is, it is hoped, a more straightforward form. It has been compiled to facilitate the growing demands of researchers, until such time as the projected edition of the Reid papers makes it possible to provide a more detailed, scholarly catalogue. In the meantime, the only refinement has been to extend the incipit identifications to cover different passages within individual items: this has only been done where there are clear breaks in the composition, or the topics covered are obviously unrelated.

Reference should also be made to MS. 3061, comprising related Reid manuscripts which had been detached from the Birkwood collection and have recently been separately accessioned.

MS.2131/1/I/2und.'Of the relation between the series of odd numbers and the powers and products of whole numbers ....' 8 pp. [MS.2131.2 (9)]
MS.2131/3/I/13und.Simsons Euclid Glasc. 1756 4to....' 2 pp. [MS.2131.1 (51)]
MS.2131/3/III/13und.'I am very glad to hear that Dr Simpson (whom I reverence as the father of the Mathematicians now alive)...' 4 pp. [MS.2131.1 (58)]
MS.2131/3/III/14[1794]Dear Sir, I have so long delayed...observations upon your [Simpson's] edition of the data of Euclid.' 3pp.
Speakers for the Lords Address 1794...for the Commons Address...for the Amendment...Commons Amendment.' 1p. [MS.2131.1 (64)]
MS.2131/5/I/1[1770]'Prop. 6. Upon the right line AK let the unequal right lines AC, BD start at right angles...' 4 pp. [MS.2131.1(85i)]
MS.2131/5/II/47June 1756 - September 1770'Observations on the elements of Euclid.' June 1756 'Read. Euclides ab omni...' Sep. 1770. 7 pp. [MS.2131.2 (20)]
MS.3061/11und.'The elements of Euclid'. 23pp. Extract.

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For further information, contact Iain Beavan