A special event to mark the gift of the Marseille Middleton Holloway Collection was held on 24th October 2017. We were thrilled to be able to welcome 13 of Holloway’s descendants to the University Library’s Napier Reading Room where they saw on display the albums and family papers which they had presented to the University, alongside other items from our Special Collections.
Principal of the University, Professor Sally Mapstone, welcomed the Marriage family and thanked them for their generous donation, acknowledging the long association between the Williams, Marriage and Melvin families and the University. Here she is being shown the album of historical autograph letters (ms39022/1) by Mrs Caroline Marriage and her two sisters.
Robert Crawford, Wardlaw Professor in the School of English, spoke about the letters of Robert Burns to be found within the Literary album (ms39022/2) and explained the background to one of them, before reading a letter and some Burns poems.
The album of historical autograph letters begins with two items from the reign of Elizabeth I. Both albums also contain engravings and other images of the featured authors on many of the facing pages, opposite the letters.
We were particularly pleased to welcome some of our MLitt students from the Shakespeare and Renaissance Literary Culture course, who have been set the transcription of a letter from the first album as a Palaeography assignment. They had the unique opportunity of talking with the donors about the provenance of the albums they are researching.
The family papers which were presented along with the two albums contain a wide variety of correspondence, artwork, certificates and notes about the letters, their collectors and the wider family.
Dr Julia Prest of Modern Languages looking at the exhibition panel featuring Beethoven’s letter to Thomas Broadwood about the presentation of a piano in 1818.
The exhibition features letters by, and images of, Francois I of France, Elizabeth I, Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, Robert Burns, Horace Walpole, Sir Walter Scott, Lord Nelson, Lord Byron, Beethoven and Wordsworth. It is open from 0930-1630 Monday to Friday in Martyrs Kirk, North Street, and runs until the end of the year.
The University of St Andrews news article about the collection can be read here.
Photographs courtesy of Stuart Nicol Photography, 2017 ©