Information Services

New College Library Archives

New College Library holds rich and varied archival collections which focus principally on:

New College Library holds rich and varied archival collections which focus principally on:

  • Papers of significant individuals or groups connected with New College 1843-1930 or Edinburgh University School of Divinity 1930 onwards
  • Papers of significant individuals from the Church of Scotland or Free Church of Scotland 1843-1930
  • Papers of individuals or organisations significant to the religious life of Scotland

These significant archive and manuscript collections contain many early items such as the last speech and testimony of covenanter James Renwick in 1688. Papers of noteworthy individuals include the leader of the 1843 Disruption, Thomas Chalmers, and New College Principals Robert Rainy and Alexander Whyte. Twentieth century collections include the papers of J.S. Oldham, Tom Allan and John McIntyre, recording for posterity their contribution to the religious life of Scotland and beyond.

All of our collections are catalogued on archival handlists kept in New College Library. Work is underway to make PDF copies of these catalogues available online through the University’s Archives Online website.

Archives Online

A selection of our collections are already listed online through Archives Hub and the National Register of Archives:

Archives Hub

Student records

New College Library maintains a New College Archive which contains class photographs, student magazines and information relating to student societies. This archive has an outline index only and it is not usually possible to search it by name of student. Enquirers must visit the library to research the collection themselves. We regret that New College Library is unable to provide any contact information for current or former students.

A database of brief information about New College students 1843-1943 is available through the Historical Alumni pages. Please note this service is still under development.

New College Library does not hold transcripts of students' academic records. For more information about all student records, contact the Centre for Research Collections.

Historical Alumni

Church records and family records

Kirk session, presbytery and synod records for the Church of Scotland, Free Church and other denominations are usually held by the National Records of Scotland (NRS). Some records are not held physically at the NRS but in local archives under the charge and superintendence of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland. The records of Church of Scotland baptisms, marriages and burials are also held by NRS and many are available through the ScotlandsPeople website.

National Records of Scotland

Scotlands People


Centre for the Study of World Christianity

Located within the School of Divinity, the Centre has a unique and extensive archive of special collections in the history of world Christianity and the missionary movement.  Visitors on sabbatical or study leave are welcome.

The collections include:

  • Latin Link (formerly the Evangelical Union of South America)
  • The Regions Beyond Missionary Union
  • Sudan United Mission/Action Partners (now Pioneers)
  • Records of the Edinburgh 2010 project

There are also extensive runs of nineteenth- and twentieth-century mission periodicals.  The holdings include:

  • A collection of periodicals relating to the churches of Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Pacific.
  • A corpus of monographs, pamphlets and ephemera relating to the churches of Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Pacific, including large quantities of Christian literature produced there.

The archives of certain missionary societies, and a substantial collection of private papers, missionary papers and others. Other missionary archives are held on microfiche.

Information on the archive collections is available on both the Mundus project website and on Archives Hub.

Mundus Project website

Archives Hub

Many of the lantern slides and photographs contained in the archives have been digitised and are available through the International Mission Photography Archive ca.1860-ca.1960.

International Mission Photography Archive


Access to the archives is by appointment only. For further enquiries about the archive collection, please email