William Euing and his library

Only a few streets from the Mitchell Library, at 209 West George Street an important and extensive private library was formed during the nineteenth century. It was the creation of the underwriter and marine insurance broker, William Euing (1788-1874) who in addition to his avid book-collecting had a passion for music – to which end he formed a glee club which met in his house at 6.00 a.m.! His collection of around 18,000 volumes, the majority of which was bequeathed to the University in 1874, falls neatly into three main sections:

  • A general collection of 7,000 volumes, including 130 books printed in the 15th century. The general collection is especially strong in 17th- and 18th-century English literature, including a copy of the Shakespeare First Folio.
  • A collection of 2,500 volumes of early printed music together with an important manuscript collection of music for the lute, now generally known as the ‘Euing Lute Book’, compiled some time in the 1620s. The music section was originally bequeathed to what is now the University of Strathclyde, being transferred to the University of Glasgow in 1936.
  • And a collection of Bibles, Psalters, books of prayers and hymns amounting to 3,000 volumes. The Bibles, some 2,000 items, is one of the largest and most comprehensive ever assembled by one individual. His English Bibles account for around 1,300 volumes, including no less than three copies of the 1611 King James Bible. Most of the exhibits on display derive from Euing’s library.


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