Books and Borrowing 1750-1830

Event Preview: Books and Borrowing in Eighteenth-Century Glasgow

‘Fine Art Exhibition in Court of Glasgow College’, from Andrew MacGeorge, Old Glasgow: The Place and the People (Glasgow: Blackie, 1888).

On Thursday 7th April, we are running the next of our project events: ‘Books and Borrowing in Eighteenth-Century Glasgow’ will be a convivial in-person/online workshop exploring eighteenth-century literary culture using the borrowing records of Glasgow University Library. It is being co-produced with our partners at GUL Special Collections.

The event will be an opportunity to learn more about the study of library borrowing records, and about the eighteenth-century context in Glasgow specifically. Here is an outline of the day:

What can historic library borrowing records tell us about the milieu that produced Adam Smith, the great theorist of capitalism; or James Watt, whose improvements to the steam engine propelled the industrial revolution? Which books were the students and professors at the eighteenth-century University of Glasgow actually reading? How Scottish was the Scottish Enlightenment?

The event is split into two sessions, both taking place in Special Collections on the top floor of Glasgow University Library. The first session will also be broadcast online.

Session 1 (13.30-15.00): Following a welcome and introductions from Dr Gerry McKeever, (Stirling) and an overview of the ‘Books and Borrowing’ project from the PI, Prof Katie Halsey (Stirling), there will be a series of talks from experts at Glasgow:

Dr Craig Lamont – ‘An Overview of Glasgow in the Eighteenth Century’

Drs Kit Baston and Matthew Sangster – ‘”D—–d Good”: Glasgow University Library Books and their Borrowers in the Eighteenth Century and Beyond’

Robert MacLean – ‘University of Glasgow Library borrowing registers, beyond the borrowing: what additional insights can they provide?’

Dr Craig Smith – ‘Borrowing Registers and Adam Smith’s Missing Glasgow Lectures’

Dr Michelle Craig – ‘Scholarship and Polite Sociability in William Hunter’s library’

Dr Dahlia Porter – ‘Institutional Borrowing: Inventories, Registers, Receipt Books’

There will then be an interval with free refreshments.

Session 2 (15.30-17.00): This more informal session will give attendees the chance to see some of the eighteenth-century books and borrowing records up-close, and to chat to members of the research team. There is no obligation to stay for the full 90 minutes.

The in-person tickets are limited to 40 people, so if you would like to come, sign up fast to avoid disappointment: