Biography: Antiquary and librarian. Born Edinburgh 1793. Son of a publisher and bookseller. Educated Canongate grammar school 1800-5, then Edinburgh Univ., 1805-6. Joined his father's business 1806. Read as much of the stock as he could. Attended several important London sales and took two purchasing trips to the continent in 1816 and 1819. Candidate for keeper of the Advocate's Library 1819. Partner in his father's business 1821. Published many works, mainly editions of Scottish historical and literary material. First and only secretary of the Bannatyne Club, founded by Sir Walter Scott for the publication of previously unpublished or out-of-print material relating to the history or literature of Scotland 1823-1861. Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries 1824. Very important to the Society of Antiquaries - treasurer 1836-1852, vice president 1859-62, 1865-8, acting secretary 1839-41, secretary for foreign correspondence 1852-78. Librarian to the Writers to H.M. Signet 1837. Gave up his bookselling business 1837. Personal library was large and impressive, 20,000 printed books, manuscript collections, master prints and drawings of historical significance. Also involved in the Maitland, Abbotsford, Spalding, Hunterian and Wodrow Clubs. Honorary professor of antiquities, Royal Scottish Academy 1854, honorary professor of ancient history, RSA, 1861. L.L.D., Edinburgh Univ., 1864. Died Portobello, Edinburgh, 1878. Manuscripts bequeathed to Edinburgh University, printed books and some prints sold at auction in London, old masters drawings bequeathed to Royal Scottish Academy, residue of prints and drawings sold at auction in Edinburgh.
Biography Date: 1793-1878
Biography References: LOC; CERL; DNB;
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