Mearns Collection

Some 2,000 hymnological works collected by James Mearns (1855-1922), vicar of Rushden, Hertfordshire and reviser of John Julian’s Dictionary of hymnology. Included are many rare early items from the continent. The collection also contains some 1,600 letters to Mearns, mainly on hymnological topics associated with his revision of Julian's Dictonary.

The collection came to the United Free Church College (subsequently Trinity College), Glasgow, in 1923 and was transferred with the rest of the College Library to the University of Glasgow in 1974. Ownership has been retained by the Church of Scotland but the books have been deposited permanently in the University Library.

How to find material in the Mearns Collection

  • The printed material has only been partially catalogued; the records for the items catalogued so far have yet to be loaded into the rare books search but are available to members of Special Collections staff in an Access database: please ask for advice.
  • Records for the letters are available at shelf-mark MS Gen 1673 via the manuscripts search 
  • A typescript subject catalogue of the Mearns Collection, compiled by George H. Rolland, A.L.A. is available in the Special Collections Department.
  • Draft catalogue of books on Psalters, hymns and hymnology in the National Library of Scotland, Aberdeen University Library, New College Library, Edinburgh, Trinity College, Glasgow (1939). This is a union catalogue prepared by the Church of Scotland’s Committee on Public Worship. Available for consultation in the Special Collections Reading Room.
  • Sir Ronald Johnson, "Hymnological collections in Scotland", Bulletin, the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 173 (vol. 11, no. 12, October 1987), pp. 269-71.