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Dugald Stewart

Dugald Stewart (1753-1828) studied at the University of Edinburgh and was Chair of Moral Philosophy here from 1785. He taught political economy and a “common sense” philosophy in opposition to the scepticism of David Hume.

Dugald Stewart’s library included the books of his father Matthew Stewart (1717-1785), Professor of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh. The collection passed into the hands of Dugald’s son Colonel Matthew Stewart (c.1784-1851), who bequeathed it - along with many of his own books - to the United Service Club in London. In 1910 the whole collection, with books from all three collectors, was transferred to the University of Edinburgh.

The collection contains 3,432 titles in some 4,000 volumes. It is a rich and broad collection covering many topics but particularly strong in political economy, moral philosophy and mathematics. It is particularly rich in French publications from the Revolutionary period. There is a large number of presentation copies reflecting Dugald Stewart's wide circle of acquaintances and admirers, for example from Jefferson, Byron and Maria Edgeworth. The younger Matthew Stewart added some early printed books (there are 33 incunabula in the collection) and works on oriental subjects.

For a short description of the collection, see the article by K.C. Crawford in 'The Bibliotheck', 10 (1980), pp.31-34. A short-title catalogue by former Rare Books Librarian Sheila Noble is available for consultation in the Centre for Research Collections. All the books appear in the Library's pre-1985 Guardbook catalogue and many are catalogued online. Most have shelfmarks beginning “D.S.”

There are also some 21 manuscript volumes including letters, lecture notes and Dugald Stewart’s diary of journeys in England and Scotland, 1797-1803. There are also papers of Helen D'Arcy Stewart, his wife (1765-1838).