The Brown-Lindsay and Christ's College pamphlets have been catalogued and added to the The University of Aberdeen Library Catalogue as a contribution to the Pamphlet and Polemic Project (1999-2002), led by St Andrews University Library. The Project has received funding from the RLUK Research Libraries UK, and is running in association with the CURL Nineteenth-Century Pamphlets project. These projects are unlocking significant and rare primary sources for the benefit of researchers from a wide range of disciplines within the humanities and social sciences.
The Brown-Lindsay pamphlet volumes are that portion of the United Presbyterian College Library, Edinburgh, that came to the Free Church College in Aberdeen (now Christ's College), when that Library was dispersed amongst the three Free Church Colleges following union in 1900, and so relate to other portions now in Trinity College, Glasgow, and New College, Edinburgh. Following the formation of the United Presbyterian Church in 1847, the Rev. John Brown, D.D. (1784-1858) and the Rev. William Lindsay, D.D. (1802-1866) were among the founding members of the College and its first two professors of Exegetical Theology. The pamphlets that belonged to them, and formed part of their library, reflect their own interests and those of their time, but also contain a range of subject matter which mark them as theologians with a knowledge of much wider religious questions and their implications. The older part of Christ's College Library was deposited in Aberdeen University Library in 1986.
The collection encompasses 300 years of the history of the dissenting Presbyterian Churches but also includes unusual rarities reflecting wider religious issues. Dating from the seventeenth through to the nineteenth centuries, they are predominantly Presbyterian and there is an inevitable anti-Catholic and anti-Episcopalian tone throughout the collection. Many of the rare, early pamphlets relate to the early dissent from the established church and the formation of the Secession Church. Other, seventeenth-century works are concerned with the religious questions of monarchy, church and state brought about by the English Civil War and, later, the union of 1707. Many of the eighteenth-century works concentrate on the wider implications for the churches brought about by the questions of philosophy and religion, events such as the French Revolution and greater religious toleration. The nineteenth- century pamphlets, which comprise the greater part of the collection, focus much on the events leading up to the disruption of 1843 and the formation of the United Presbyterian Church in 1847, particularly the church patronage question and the voluntary churches controversy.
However, the pamphlets cover a much wider subject area than the incidents affecting the United Presbyterian Church directly and there are works - many of them quite rare - concerning slavery, temperance, religious revivals, Sunday observance, baptism, the education and well-being of the working class, science and religion, Mormonism and spiritualism. The non-established Presbyterian Churches were committed to missionary work both at home and abroad, and again this is reflected in the subject matter of many of the pamphlets, particularly the Protestant religious education of children and adults alike in Great Britain and Ireland, the Americas, the Indian sub-continent, Australasia and the South Sea Islands. Relating to this, and the dissemination of religious texts, a number of the pamphlets are concerned with the Bible Societies controversy of the nineteenth century.
Reflecting the wide range of subjects covered by the collection are their places of origin, including a number of works with some of the more uncommon, provincial Scottish, English and Irish imprints, and one or two printed in Canada and Australia.
The collection provides sources for extending research in Scottish church history, homiletics and the interface between religion and philosophy, as well as opening up new areas of research. The grouping of pamphlets by topic is particularly helpful.
This collection complements material in the Thomson, Herald and King pamphlet collections, the MacBean Stuart and Jacobite Collection, the Bibliotheck of Kirkwall, The Taylor Psalmody Collection, and the library of the Episcopal Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney.