Information Services

Archives and Manuscripts

The University of Edinburgh holds some of the world’s most important archives and manuscript collections, providing unique resources for the study of a wide range of disciplines, cultures, technologies, people, and places.

Our holdings cover both personal and institutional records. They come in a great variety of formats, including working papers, correspondence, legal documents, photographs, notebooks, diaries, films, and digital media. These constantly expanding collections support research, learning and teaching at the University and may be accessed via the Centre for Research Collections (CRC).

Searching the Archives

To search collections that have been digitally catalogued, please go to our online Archives and Manuscript Catalogue:

Some of our collections are still being catalogued or are listed in manual finding aids. Contact the CRC to find out more.

The University's Own Archives

The archives of the University itself form a substantial collection. Dating from its foundation in 1583, they chart the development of thinking and research in subjects ranging from medicine to literature, geology to art, education to sports science, philosophy to international relations. They also cover institutions that have merged with the university, including Moray House College of Education, Edinburgh College of Art, Royal Dick Veterinary College, and New College. In addition to academic records, we hold the archives of Edinburgh University Students’ Association and of many clubs, societies, and other organizations connected to the University.

The University Archives document over 400 years of teaching, learning, administration and student life, and place the University both on the international stage and in a local context.

Edinburgh University Archives

New College Library Archives

Papers of significant individuals or groups connected to New College, the University and the Church of Scotland.

Collections Information

School of Scottish Studies Archives

The School of Scottish Studies was established in 1951, at the University of Edinburgh, to collect, preserve, research, and publish material relating to the cultural traditions and folklore of Scotland.

The extensive collections, including ethnological fieldwork undertaken by staff and students over the past seventy years, include a sound archive comprising some 33,000 recordings, a photographic archive containing thousands of images from the 1930s onwards, a small film and video collection and a manuscript archive.

Collections Information

What Other Archive Collections Do We Hold?

We hold many other archive and manuscript collections acquired by gift, deposit, or purchase. These cover a wide and diverse range of subjects. Particular strengths include science, medicine, Scottish literature, Gaelic and Celtic studies, Middle Eastern Studies, theology, music, architecture, and town-planning.

Below are some of our main archival collections but the list is by no means comprehensive.

Main Collections

What Are Our Subject Strengths?

Follow the links below for a guide to subject areas in which we hold particularly rich collections.