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Aeneas Mackay

History, law and literature

This is an excellent and wide-ranging antiquarian collection bequeathed by Aeneas J.G. Mackay (1839-1911). Educated at the Edinburgh Academy, at King's College London and the Universities of Oxford, Heidelberg and Edinburgh, he held the Chair of Constitutional History at the University of Edinburgh from 1874 until 1881. He was awarded an LLD by the University in 1882 and founded the Scottish History Society in 1885. He devoted the rest of his life to the practice of law, notably as Sheriff of Fife and Kinross from 1886 until 1901, as well as farming and forestry.

The collection includes some 4,000 volumes mainly on history, literature and law but also including items on many other subjects. Scottish books feature strongly but there are also key works in French and English literature, including a copy of Spenser’s 1611 'Faerie Queene'.

All books appear in the Library's pre-1985 main catalogue where they are identified as coming from the Mackay Bequest, and there are online records for many of them. Shelf-lists for the material with shelfmarks beginning Hf.-Hh. are available in the Special Collections Department, but the rest of the collection has always been scattered, including open access locations.