Melvin Collection

Melvin Collection

Dr James Melvin (1795-1853) amassed a fine library of Latin classical writers, and works relating to Latin language and literature. Born in Aberdeen, he entered Aberdeen Grammar School, and then attended Marischal College as first bursar and graduated MA in 1813. After graduation, he entered the teaching profession and became a master in his former school. In 1826 he became Rector, a post which he held until his death in 1853. In 1839, and again in 1852, he unsuccessfully applied for the professorship in Latin at Marischal College. Despite this unrealised ambition, Melvin was regarded as one of the greatest Latin scholars of his day, and was the author of a Latin Grammar which remained in print for many years.

Keywords: Classical literature; classical languages; history; theology; philosophy; science.

Strengths: The Collection is rich in editions of Latin and Greek classical writers, and works relating to Latin language and culture. Additionally, there is a substantial collection of works on Scottish history and literature, and of theological and philosophical works of the Reformation and Pre-Reformation. Medieval Latin literature is also well represented. There are also several important scientific works.

Languages:English, Latin, Greek

Identifier: MN

Physical characteristics: Just under 7000 volumes of books

Accumulation date range: c. 1815-1884

Contents date range: Fifteenth century to c. 1850.

Associated Publications: Clark, Alexander, Proposed Memorial to Senatus of Aberdeen University from former pupils of Dr Melvin and others desirous of maintaining the Melvinian basis of Latin scholarship (Aberdeen:, 1888). Geddes, W.D., The Melvin Memorial Window in the University Library (Aberdeen:, 1888). 'The Late Dr. Melvin-centenary dinner.', Aberdeen Journal (16th June, 1894). Walker, J., 'Dr. Melvin's Memory: (an offprint of a letter to the Aberdeen Journal). By Melvin Abroad' (1894). Masson, David, 'Dead Men Whom I Have Known; or, Recollection of Three Cities. The Aberdeen Grammar School - Dr. James Melvin', MacMillan's Magazine, 9 (January 1864), 225-39. Masson, David, James Melvin, Rector of the Grammar School of Aberdeen: A Sketch, (ed.) P. J. Anderson (Aberdeen: Wyllie, 1895). Simpson, H. F. Morland (ed.), Bon Accord: Records and Reminiscences of Aberdeen Grammar School from the Earliest Times by Many Writers (Aberdeen: Wyllie, 1906). An obituary notice appears in the Gentleman's Magazine, n.s. 40 (1853), 318. See also entry in the Dictionary of National Biography. Available on Library OPAC or WebPAC

Accrual Status: Closed.

Custodial history/provenance: The books belonged to the private library of Dr James Melvin, (1795-1853) (MA Marischal College, 1813; LLD, 1834), Rector of Aberdeen Grammar School (1826-53) and were presented to Marischal College, his alma mater in 1856, by his sister Miss Agnes Melvin. The Collection was further added to by Francis Edmond, LLD, of Kingswells in 1884.

Access Control: Closed access - please request. Non-borrowable.