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In Aedibus Academicis
The Glasgow University Press

A selection of books from the printers of the University of Glasgow. Devised for the 2008 celebration of 500 years of Scottish printing.

Introduction | 17th Century | 18th Century|19th Century | 20th Century

Thomas Harvie (fl. 1713-1756)

Bh12-y.17: Harvie's proposals, reprinted by Maitland Club in 1831

Thomas Harvie was the University printer who never was. In a document preserved by the University's Archives Services is a proposal by him to erect a "printing work within the University of Glasgow". Dated 27 May, 1713, Harvie suggests that one or more presses should be set up, furnished with different fonts, and that the proposer should be "immediately declared university printer and Bookseller". Harvie was a student of Divinity. His proposal was considered by the Faculty in a series of meetings; although at one point it seems to have been agreed that he should be appointed, for some reason negotiations foundered. Harvie went on to obtain a post at Glasgow Grammar school.

One outcome of Harvie's proposal was a document drawn up by the Faculty that underlined the importance now attached to having a University press: "every day teaches us what difficulty there is to get the books that are absolutely necessary for the scholars of all sorts, and how much we are impos'd upon when we get ym". Thus, it was proposed that a "well furnish'd' shop ... with books of all sorts" and a printing press should be erected in the University itself.

Hugh Brown (fl. 1713-1720)

Mu38-h.10: detail of print ornament

While the University was formalising its terms and conditions for its next printer, Hugh Brown produced several books and pamphlets using the University imprint. It is possible that he assumed this title rather than being given it, however, as the University actively disputed his authority, declaring that "Hugh Brown never was printer to the University but only employ'd by Donald Govan" (who was authorised to print in the college for a short period of time).

Bf72-d.46: title-page

Robert Calder The spirit of slander exemplified in a scandalous pamphlet called, The Jacobite curse, sold by William Dickie in the Parliament Closs, and printed by Hugh Brown printer to the University of Glasgow, and written by a scandalous scribler ...
Edinburgh: Printed by Mr. Robert Freebairn, printer to the King's most Excellent Majesty, A.D. 1714
Sp Coll Bf72-d.46

This is a reply to the pamphlet The Jacobite curse, a book that was supposedly printed by Hugh Brown under the auspices of the University (as mentioned in the title here) and which the University disputed. There is a suggestion that the Unviersity did, in fact, employ Brown as its printer, but then denied his association in order to distance the college from the political allegiance of The Jacobite curse.

Mu38-h.10: title-page

The last words of Mr. Donald Cargill, when on the scaffold, July 27th, 1681
Printed by Hugh Brown, in the University of Glasgow, and are to be sold at his shop, above the Cross. M.DCC.XIV. [1714]
Sp Coll Mu38-h.10

Another of Hugh Brown's publications with a possibly spurious imprint. Donald Cargill was a Covenanter; for refusing to acknowledge Charles II as a lawful prince and for bearing arms at the battle of Bothwell Bridge (1679) he was tried for treason and sentenced to death. According to the entry in the ODNB, his last words to the crowd were deliberately drowned out by the beating of soldiers' drums.

James Hart (fl. 1714)

Mu42-d.4: detail of imprint

James Hart adds to the confusion of printers associated (or not) with the University at this time. According to MacLehose, Hart was probably allowed to have a workshop within the University precincts as "one of the efforts made ... to encourage printing". Again, he was not actually a recognized printer of the University. Nothing else is known about him.

Mu42-d.4: title-page

John Steel An account of a late conference, on the 25th October, 1714, betwixt Mr. John Steel minister of the Gospel at Old Cumnock, and Mr. John Anderson a disorderly preacher ...
Glasgow, printed by James Hart, in the University. 1714.
Sp Coll Mu42-d.4

Note that (unlike Hugh Brown) in the imprint Hart declares that his book was printed "in the University" rather than claiming to be the printer of the University.

Donald Govan (fl. 1714-1719)

BG56-k.33: detail of printer's errors for reader to amend

Donald Govan was nominated to be the University's next official printer in December, 1714. According to the terms of the agreement, he was to "procure a copy of each book to the Library". The contract was signed the following January. Govan was to operate two presses and secure fonts "for printing Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldee". In an attempt to rectify the error strewn work of previous printers, Govan was obliged to employ skilful correctors. He had the use of two chambers within the College, as well as a chamber for coals and a "Garrett in the Steeple for Drying his paper". He had to print "programs and other Advertisments for the use of the Universitie" for free.

Govan printed about six books in Glasgow, including a couple of University dissertations. MacLehose states that his press apparently ceased production in 1719.

Bo3-l.20: title-page

Bo3-l.20: preface to the reader

W. Newall The merchant's companion: being a more exact, quick and easy way, for making up of accompts in shops, faires &c. betwixt buyer and seller, than any heretofore; wherein is reduced sterling to Scotish, and Scotish to English coin
C. Glasgow, Printed by Donald Govan, and sold by Andrew Wales in his shop at the Cross. MDCCXV  [1715]
Sp Coll Bo3-l.20

As with printers before, Govan's output was not solely dedicated to University business. This "infallible guide" for merchants consists of tables to help translate the price of goods from Scottish money into English Sterling. This copy has been evidently well used, with several manuscript annotations (including some arithmetical calculations) and 18th century signatures on the flyleaves.

BG56-k.33: title-page

BG56-k.33: printer's errors

Freiherr von Samuel Pufendorf De officio hominis et civis, juxta legem naturalem libri duo
Glasguae, ex officina Donaldi Govan, Academiae Typographi. MDCCXVIII. [1718]
Sp Coll BG56-k.33

A commentary by Gershom Carmichael (1672-1729) on Pufendorf's work on law On the Duty of Man and Citizen. Carmichael was a Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. As befits its subject matter, this is a work produced by Govan as University printer ("Academiae Typographi").

Alexander Carmichael & Company (fl. 1724-1736)

Mu21-c.37: detail of printer's ornament incorporating University crest

Alexander Carmichael was the son of Professor Gershom Carmichael. Another of his sons (also called Gershom) became the Librarian of the University. Alexander was a bookseller in Glasgow for several years before he became a printer. It is not known exactly when he began printing. Several books dated 1730 bear his imprint, relating his work to the University. Although Carmichael continued to issue books, MacLehose notes that after this date he does not actually seem to have any connection with the University, either as a bookseller or printer.

Mu21-c.37: title-page

Mu21-c.37: outer wrapper

Francis Hutcheson De naturali hominum socialitate oratio inauguralis
Glasgoviae. Typis Academicis M.DCC.XXX [1730]
Sp Coll Mu21-c.37

Although Carmichael's name does not appear in the imprint, he is purported to have printed this address by Francis Hutcheson upon his inauguration as Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow - thereby succeeding the chair that Alexander's father, Gershom, had held. In this copy, contemporary Dutch gilt wrappers have survived, bound in amongst flyleaves in a later binding

Mu35-h.34: title-page

Mu35-h.34: page 1

Alexander Carmichael Believers mortification of sin by the spirit; with the author's three last sermons
Glasgow-College, printed by Mr. Carmichaell, and Company. MDCCXXX [1730]
Sp Coll Mu35-h.34

This text was written by the printer's grandfather, another Alexander Carmichael. The work was originally published in 1677; this is the second edition.

Andrew Stalker (fl. 1731-1771)

Mu47-k.16: detail of printer's ornament

Andrew Stalker was in partnership with Alexander Carmichael for three years as a bookseller. However, at the end of this period, Carmichael obtained an interdict against Stalker, prohibiting him from continuing to sell books "because the place was too narrow for two booksellers at a time".

A number of books with the imprint "Glasgow College" were printed for Stalker.

Mu47-k.16: title-page

Cicero Orationum selectarum liber
Glasguae, Typis Academicis, impensis Andreae Stalker, Bibliopolae Glasguae, & Gavini Hamilton, Edinburgi MD.CC.XXXIII. [1733]
Sp Coll Mu47-k.16

A book printed by the University Press (although by exactly which printer is not clear) and sold by Stalker. MacLehose records that in some copies of this book there is an advertisement for other works that were "printed for, and sold by Andrew Stalker, bookseller in Glasgow". This leaf is not present in our copy.

Alexander Miller (fl. 1732-1741)

BG56-k.13: detail of imprint

Alexander Miller printed some books in association with Alexander Carmichael. He had a printing press in the University buildings by 1738 and used the imprint "Glasgow College". It is supposed that several books bearing this imprint were printed by him.

TCL 3341: title-page

TCL 3341: printer's advertisement

Isaac Ambrose Prima; the first things, in reference to the middle and last things; or, the doctrine of regeneration, the new birth, the very beginning of a Godly life
Glasgow-College, printed for Mr. James Cullen preacher, Archibald Ingram, James Dechman, John Hamilton, and John Glassford, merchants in Glasgow, M,DCC,XXXVII [1737]
Sp Coll T.C.L. 3341

Although Miller's name does not appear on the imprint, the advertisement states that a proposed new book (of another work by the same author) will be sold by the same publishers as this book "and at Alexander Miller's shop, bookseller in the Saltmarket of Glasgow".


BG56-k.13: title-page

Thomas Brooks An ark for all God's Noahs in a gloomy stormy day
Glasgow College, printed by Alex Millar, and are to be sold in his shop opposite to the Well, in the Salt-Mercat,1738
Sp Coll BG56-k.13

Miller is credited with being both the printer and bookseller of this volume, again produced under the auspices of "Glasgow College".

Robert Foulis (1707-1776) and Andrew Foulis (1712-1775)

Sp Coll 339: detail from title-page

The first hundred years of the Glasgow University Press have usually been written off for producing "dingy" little volumes. This was all to change in the 1740s with the advent of the Foulis brothers. Together, they established a reputation for high quality works that were meticulously proof read. Mainly classical and literary, Foulis books gained an international standing for their beauty and design, bringing fame to Glasgow and its University. Their outstanding contribution is explored in more detail in a separate virtual exhibition dedicated to the Foulis press.

Sp Coll 339: detail from title-page

Sp Coll 339: p. 10

Robert Foulis A catalogue of books imported from abroad, Part 1. consisting of ancient Greek authors ...
Glasgow: MDCCXLIV [1744]
Sp Coll 339

Robert was the son of a barber. He initially followed in his father's trade while studying at the University in his spare time. Both he and his brother, Andrew, were relentless in the pursuit of knowledge and soon developed a taste for fine books. They travelled abroad collecting books that they could later sell in Britain. Robert had established a bookshop at the College by 1741 and had set up his own printing press by 1742. A year later, he was appointed the University’s printer. Andrew joined him in partnership, and the brothers dominated the Glasgow book trade. Like their predecessors, they had designated rooms in College for their business, although their expanding trade meant that they also had to buy premises outwith the University precincts. The brothers became renowned as booksellers of classical works, as this catalogue of their stock for sale demonstrates. A note on the title-page directs purchasers to "Robert Foulis bookseller and printer to the University of Glasgow".

BD12-e.8: title-page

BD12-e.8: p. 58

BD12-e.8: p. 59

Horace Quintus Horatius Flaccus
Glasguae: in aedibus academicis excudebat Robertus Foulis, Academiae Typographus. MDCCXLIV [1744]
Sp Coll BD12-e.8

Known as the "immaculate" Horace, it is said that the proofs of this books were hung in the college with a reward of £50 being offered to anyone who could find any errors. However, a few were overlooked, and six were found some time later.

BD12-b.18: title-page

BD12-b.18:page [1]

Homer The Iliad
Glasguae: in aedibus academicis, excudebant Robertus et Andreas Foulis, Academiae typographi, 1756
Sp Coll BD12-b.18

This work, along with the Odyssey, which was published two years later, has been described as "a landmark in the history of printing in Greek". The outstanding type was designed specially by Alexander Wilson; it simplifies Greek fonts used by earlier printers, making the text easier to read. It received the Edinburgh Select Society’s medal for the best printed Greek book, and in 1757 The Scots Magazine noted that the Foulis brothers had "gained all the prizes yet given by this society for book-printing".

Mu1-e.5: title-page

Mu1-e.5: opening of text

Reports to the Lords Commissioners of Police, relative to the navigation of the Rivers Forth, Gudie, and Devon; M.DCC.LXXIII
Glasgow: Robert and Andrew Foulis, 1773
Sp Coll Mu1-e.5

Foulis books were beautifully produced with good quality paper and ink. Great care was taken with their design, the shape and the proportion of the types and pages being given particular emphasis.

MacLehose singles out this book as being an example of the pains that were taken in producing even commercial work beautifully. He calls it a "work of art depending solely for its beauty on the choice of type, simplicity of arrangement and excellence of workmanship".

Andrew Foulis, Younger (1756-1829)

T.C.L. 1084: detail of text from opening page

After ten years of publishing, Robert Foulis turned his energies to establishing an Academy of Arts in Glasgow. His groundbreaking school opened at the University in 1753. The students were selected by talent rather than wealth, and many could not afford to pay fees. The Academy was financially ruinous.

During this time, Andrew kept the publishing and bookselling side of the business going. He died suddenly in 1775, and Robert died a year later. The firm was taken over by Robert's son, Andrew, but the business was by now plagued by considerable financial difficulties.


BD12-g.47: detail from p. 18

Isocrates Panegyricus
Glasguae: excudebat Andreas Foulis, MDCCLXXVIII. [1778]
Sp Coll BD12-g.47

According to MacLehose, the younger Andrew had "neither the brains nor the stability of his father". However, he was faced with an insurmountable task, for it soon transpired that the Foulis Press was bankrupt. To continue working, he entered into a partnership with the Edinburgh bookseller James Spotiswood who provided enough capital to enable him to purchase the Foulis types, presses and stock. In May 1778, he was appointed as University printer. Unfortunately, he quarrelled with Spotiswood and went on to form several further disasterous partnerships. Nonetheless, he managed to produce some forty volumes from his press over a twenty year period. In the spirit of his father's press, much of Andrew the younger's output was classical. Note that in the sample text page from his Panegyricus shown here, the page number (18) has been printed back to front.

T.C.L. 1084: prize bookplate

T.C.L. 1084: page [1]

Isocrates Panegyricus
Glasguae: excudebat Andreas Foulis, MDCCLXXVIII. [1778]
Sp Coll T.C.L. 1084

This is another copy of Andrew's 1778 edition of the Panegyricus. It has a University prize bookplate made out to Robert Douglas for work in Greek letters in 1791.

Although much of Andrew's early work for the press has been praised, his later books have been criticised for being carelessly printed; many of them were obviously copies of earlier editions with new title-pages.

Mu21-x.3: opening page

Archibald Arthur Catalogus impressorum librorum in bibliotheca Universitatis glasguensis
Glasguae: In aedibus academicis excudebat A. Foulis, Academiae Typographus. 1791
Sp Coll Mu21-x.3

The first printed catalogue of the Library's holdings (amounting to some 20,000 items) was produced in 1791. It was compiled by Archibald Arthur, sometime professor of Moral Philosophy and Librarian. Andrew was questioned by the University about the long interruption which delayed its publication.

MS Murray: excerpt from memorial of Andrew Foulis

Amongst the manuscripts of David Murray is a small set of papers that document the struggle of Andrew to raise money and carry on printing. This 'memorial' from 1791 petitioned the University for pecuniary aid to continue the work of the Foulis press. It summarises the achievements of the Academy while supplying a breakdown of its debts, an account which shows a loss of £28,327 accummulated over a 22 year period. It describes the huge expenses incurred by printing and refers to Foulis's experiments in stereotyping with Alexander Tilloch in an attempt to cut costs. The University's response was to agree that a sum of money should be found "to prosecute that elegant and spendid printing of the classicks which was executed with such distinguished merit by his Father and Uncle".

This was a temporary respite, however. By 1795 the Senate decided that it was no longer 'expedient' to employ Andrew as University printer. At first, Andrew refused to vacate his accommodation in College, but he was eventually paid off. He continued to print sporadically, but obviously struggled to make a living. He died in a poorhouse in Edinburgh in 1829.

James Mundell (fl. 1795-1800)

BD7-d.3: detail of imprint

Having finally disposed of Andrew Foulis, the University was quick to appoint his successor. In 1795, they chose James Mundell "whose good character and Professional Eminence as a Printer, the Senate have had the most satisfactory Evidence". There were now to be stricter regulations attached to the post, and accommodation in College was no longer provided.

BD7-d.3: title-page

Horace Opera
Glasguae: in aedibus academicis, excudebat Jacobus Mundell, Academiae Typographus. Londini: prostant apud G.G. & J. Robinson, et T. Payne: Cantabrigae, apud W.H. Lunn; Edinburgi, apud J. Mundell & Soc. 1796
Sp Coll BD7-d.3

Mundell's books were chiefly educational, but he also produced some religious works and classical texts, such as this. The imprint records that this book was printed in Glasgow by the University press, to be sold by various booksellers in London, Cambridge and Edinburgh. James Mundell frequently printed books for the Edinburgh booksellers with the same name.

Mundell was initially appointed for a three year period as University printer. His term of office was renewed for a further three years, but he died in 1800.

Bl14-f.4: title-page

Bl14-f.4: p. 121 with
reader's comments

John Burns The anatomy of the gravid uterus. With practical references relative to pregnancy and labour
Glasgow: at the University Press, printed by James Mundell, for Mundell and Son, Edinburgh; J. Murdoch, Glasgow; and for Longman and Rees, and J. Johnson, London. 1799
Sp Coll Bl14-f.4

This is an early instance of a University press book being produced on behalf of a London publisher. By the beginning of the 19th century, this became a frequent occurrence.

An early reader is rather disparaging about this volume. He corrects the text on several occasions and at one point comments "this must have been a proof copy there are so many blunders".

Go to next section: the 19th Century