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Corson (Walter Scott)

Walter Scott, from Waverley to souvenirs.

We have one of the leading collections of books by and about Sir Walter Scott, which was formed by Dr. James C. Corson (1905-1988). Corson was a Scott bibliographer and former Deputy Librarian of Edinburgh University Library.

Corson was dedicated to the pursuit of Scotland’s first great historical novelist from an early age. He had begun collecting printed editions of Scott in the secondhand bookshops of Edinburgh while he was still at school. Eventually his collection expanded to fill the old church at Lilliesleaf, near Melrose, in the old Manse of which he lived and died. His zeal was recognised by his appointment as Honorary Librarian of Abbotsford in the 1950s.

The collection was purchased by the Library in 1975 and transferred here in 1989 on Corson’s death; his widow Ada Corson bequeathed funds to ensure its upkeep and development.

There are now some 7,000 printed items comprising editions of Scott in English and translation, biographical and critical material, an estimated 10,000 illustrations and newscuttings, 60 framed pictures, some original manuscript material and an assortment of miscellaneous Scott memorabilia. The Corson Collection is the basis of the Walter Scott Digital Archive which the Library maintains.

Dr. Corson's own typescript catalogue and index slips can be consulted in the Centre for Research Collections. The printed books are catalogued online with shelfmarks starting “Corson”.

Walter Scott Images Online

We have over 1,000 digital images taken from the Corson Collection of Walter Scott material, in addition to images relating to Scott elsewhere in the collections. These can be browsed in high resolution online.

Online Images

Walter Scott in Edinburgh

The Digital Imaging Unit have created an interactive map on flickr, allowing you to explore collections images in their 'real' locations in the city.

Flickr Map

Further information about the Corson Collection is provided in these archived webpages: