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Sydney Goodsir Smith Papers

The Sydney Goodsir Smith Papers (Coll-497) include working materials for Smith's most important poetic and dramatic works, along with letters from other major figures of the Scottish Literary Renaissance.

The Papers include working materials for the verse collections The Wanderer and Other Poems, Under the Eildon Tree, and So Late into the Night, and for the long poems The Vision of the Prodigal Son and Kynd Kittock’s Land. There are notebooks containing drafts of poems for the period 1932-46, as well as manuscripts or typescripts of individual poems.

There is a manuscript of Smith’s novel Carotid Cornucopius with a typescript of the preface by Hugh MacDiarmid. Smith the playwright is strongly represented by manuscripts, typescripts, or proofs of the plays Ishmael, or Ye Gods and Little Bitches, The Rout of Spring, The Wallace, The Stick-Up, The Mask of Minos, and The Prince of Skye.

There are letters from writers such as Hugh MacDiarmid and Norman MacCaig (who encloses a comic poem inspired by a drinking session with Smith) and important correspondence relating to Smith’s co-editorship of Robert Burns's The Merry Muses of Caledonia. Finally, miscellaneous material (in E2005.27) includes drawings by Smith, musical settings of his poems, press cuttings, obituaries, and some financial papers.

The Sydney Goodsir Smith Papers are an invaluable resource not only for Smith scholars but also for any researcher with an interest in the development of 20th-century Scottish verse, drama, and fiction, or in relations between some of Scotland's major writers.

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Smith Materials in Other EUL Collections

There are important Sydney Goodsir Smith materials in other Edinburgh University Library collections, including

  • typescripts of major works sent to Hugh MacDiarmid, Norman MacCaig, and Maurice Lindsay
  • letters from Smith to Helen Cruickshank, Hamish Henderson, Maurice Lindsay, Norman MacCaig, Hugh MacDiarmid, and Tom Scott
  • critical writings on Smith by Norman MacCaig
  • materials relating to Smith's 1951 campaign to be elected Rector of Edinburgh University in the Jabberwock Archive
  • photographs by Gordon Wright
  • references to Smith in the incoming correspondence of Fred Urquhart.