Hamilton Collection

The library of Sir William Hamilton (1788-1856), Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in Edinburgh University. Approximately 8,000 volumes, the emphasis being on works on logic, aesthetics and the history of philosophy, and on Greek and Latin classical texts - 150 editions of Aristotle alone, together with numerous commentaries on him. As well as 32 incunabula, the collection includes some 200 volumes of Latin poetry of the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Scottish humanist, George Buchanan, was Hamilton’s favourite author and is represented in the collection by no less than 32 editions of his works. There are also 147 manuscripts of a miscellaneous nature. Largely through the efforts of Professor John Veitch and Dr Anderson Kirkwood, private subscribers in Glasgow raised £2,000, which enabled Hamilton’s library to be purchased and presented to the University Library in 1878.

How to find items from the Hamilton collection

  • Browse through a list of titles of printed items from this collection; or alternatively, use the rare books search to locate books (Tip! Since over 6,000 records are displayed in the list of titles, using the rare books search to locate specific titles is recommended.)
  • Entries for the manuscript items have the shelf-mark MS Hamilton: see the collection level record, browse through a list of titles, or use the manuscripts search to locate material
  • John Durkan Bibliography of George Buchanan (Glasgow: 1994). Includes Hamilton collection items.
  • George Buchanan web exhibition based on John Durkan, Stephen Rawles and Nigel Thorp: George Buchanan, 1506-1582: Renaissance scholar and friend of Glasgow University Library: a quatercentenary exhibition, Glasgow University Library, 17 May-7 August 1982. Exhibition catalogue available in the Special Collections reading room.