With the acquisition of the John Murray publishing archive ten years ago, the National Library of Scotland welcomed the likes of Charles Darwin, Jane Austen and Lord Byron to the collections. Over a quarter of a million letters and publishing papers of some of the greatest names in literature bolstered already outstanding collections. But this was only the start…
Since the initial acquisition for £31.3 million in 2006, further purchases and donations have more than quadrupled the size of the original acquisition, so that the Library now holds over one million items. These included the extensive personal and literary papers of travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor, original cartoons of Osbert Lancaster, photographs of controversial archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, as well as a mass of twentieth century publishing records.
In addition to a permanent exhibition at the Library, more than a several hundred archive items have been loaned to events and exhibitions throughout Britain and internationally, with forthcoming loans this year to Abbotsford in the Scottish Borders and Chawton in Hampshire, as well as London and Switzerland.
Cataloguing continues to make interesting discoveries and an extensive program of conservation and preservation work is ensuring that the collection will be available for many generations to come.
David McClay, curator of the John Murray Archive.