Scottish history & people

A guid cause

A guid cause

The history of the women's suffrage movement in Scotland, with photographs, newspaper reports, diary entries and other sources. Activities for secondary schools. Includes downloadable PDFs.

A Scots buik on the plague

A Scots buik on the plague

Scotland's first printed medical book (1568), written in Scots. Learn the history of the plague in Scotland. Downloadable learning activities.

An Comunn Gàidhealach

An Comunn Gàidhealach

Items from 1891 onwards published by An Comunn Gàidhealach, which organises the annual Royal National Mòd.

Antiquarian Books of Scotland

Antiquarian Books of Scotland

Books published after 1640, with a broad range of subjects and languages represented.

Biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen

Biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen

Biographies of famous Scotsmen and some women, mostly of the 16th to the 19th centuries. Over 30 engraved portraits.

British military lists

British military lists

Details of officers who served in the British Army, Navy and Air Force in the First and Second World Wars.

Chalmers' 'Caledonia'

Chalmers' 'Caledonia'

Five volumes about the counties of Scotland, published in 1887. Includes parish histories and a dictionary of places.

Chapbooks printed in Scotland

Chapbooks printed in Scotland

Small cheap booklets sold on Scotland's streets were essential reading material for the masses in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Churchill: The evidence

Churchill: The evidence

The life and times of Winston Churchill, MP for Dundee before he became a wartime Prime Minister. Features schools resources.

Edinburgh characters by J Jenkins

Edinburgh characters by J Jenkins

Edinburgh celebrities and unknown characters in coloured caricatures produced by J Jenkins between 1799 and 1805.

Experiences of the Great War

Experiences of the Great War

The First World War experiences of four very different people — the General, the Nurse, the Soldier, and the Conscientious Objector.

First World War official photographs

First World War official photographs

Black-and-white photographs mainly of the Western Front during the First World War. From the papers of Field Marshal (Earl) Haig.

Gaelic Bards of Keppoch

Gaelic Bards of Keppoch

Songs written by Gaelic bards Iain Lom and Sìleas na Ceapaich. Available in Gaelic and English. Downloadable PDFs for teachers.

Histories of Scottish families

Histories of Scottish families

Clan histories, memoirs and histories of Scottish families, mostly published in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Jacobite prints and broadsides

Jacobite prints and broadsides

Portraits of people and illustrations of events relating to the Jacobite Rebellions in Scotland in 1715 and 1745-1746.

James VI and the Union of the Crowns

James VI and the Union of the Crowns

A look at the union of the Scottish and English crowns in 1603, and the monarch who wanted to lead a peaceful, united Britain.

Ladies' Edinburgh Debating Society publications

Ladies' Edinburgh Debating Society publications

Magazines representing a key moment in Scottish women's history. Published between 1865 and 1880, with general interest articles, fiction and poetry.

Lifting the lid

Lifting the lid

Explore Scotland’s natural larder, from the 17th century to the 21st, using items from our collections. Downloadable PDFs for teachers.

Map images

Map images

Further your family, local history or school project using this collection of thousands of zoomable maps of Scotland and beyond.

Marjory Fleming

Marjory Fleming

Read the diary, letters and poems of Marjory Fleming, adored in Victorian times, who died aged 8 in 1811.

Moving Image Archive

Moving Image Archive

Watch films from Scotland's national moving images collection, which preserves over 100 years of Scottish history on film and video.

Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark

Using material from her personal archive, we tell the story of the life and career of one of Scotland's greatest novelists, Dame Muriel Spark.

Northern lights

Northern lights

Explore the spirit of enquiry, debate, and improvement which characterised the Scottish Enlightenment during the 18th century.

Out of Africa: The Kirk papers

Out of Africa: The Kirk papers

An overview of the personal papers of Sir John Kirk, a British Consul in Africa who explored the Zambesi with David Livingstone.

Pencils of light

Pencils of light

Delve into photographic history with 300 images taken in the 1840s by the Edinburgh Calotype Club - the world's first photography society.

Publications by Scottish clubs

Publications by Scottish clubs

Historical texts from the 12th-19th centuries, edited by Scottish clubs, including manuscripts, church records, diaries, legends and literary texts.

Rare items in Gaelic

Rare items in Gaelic

Books, pamphlets and chapbooks printed in Gaelic between 1631 and 1900. Includes songs, poetry and religious books.

Recipes from Scotland

Recipes from Scotland

Discover how the Scottish diet has changed over the centuries, read manuscript recipe books, and watch Sue Lawrence bake a cake.

Robert Burns

Robert Burns

The life, work and legacy of Scotland's Bard, together with fascinating detail about original material in the Library's collections, and short song clips.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson

A biography of story-teller and poet Robert Louis Stevenson, along with digitised early editions of 'Kidnapped' and other works.

Rolls of honour

Rolls of honour

Scottish listings of casualties and those who died while on active service during the First World War.

Scotland's pages

Scotland's pages

Move along the timeline of key events in Scottish history, and discover along the way some of the 'treasures' held by the Library.

Scots abroad

Scots abroad

Read and hear six stories of Scots who emigrated to start a new life between the 1770s and the 1930s.

Scottish history in print

Scottish history in print

Two major Jacobite sources are online as keyword searchable files, together with details of thousands of works published by historical clubs.

Scottish History Society publications

Scottish History Society publications

Original source material illustrating Scotland’s history from the 12th to 20th centuries, published by the Scottish History Society, with authoritative commentaries.

Scottish Post Office directories

Scottish Post Office directories

Find where people lived and traded in Scotland between 1774 and 1911 by searching and browsing over 700 Post Office directories.

Scottish Science Hall of Fame

Scottish Science Hall of Fame

A tribute to 10 great Scottish scientists of the past. Read transcripts of letters, papers and published works about or by them.

Sporting photos

Sporting photos

Who are the people in these photos of sporting events in Scotland around the late 19th century? Can you help us find out?

The 1715 Jacobite Rising

The 1715 Jacobite Rising

A guide to the 1715 Jacobite rising, which changed Scotland. Includes interactives and resources for teachers.

The Bartholomew Archive

The Bartholomew Archive

Read about the remarkable record of mapmaking and printing by the world-famous Bartholomew firm in Edinburgh from 1820 to 2002.

The Duncan Street Explorer

The Duncan Street Explorer

Photos, audio recordings, floor plans and more help tell the story of the famous Bartholomew mapmakers of Edinburgh.

The last letter of Mary Queen of Scots

The last letter of Mary Queen of Scots

Read, in English and French, the last letter by Scotland's 16th-century queen, written only hours before her execution in Fotheringhay Castle.

The North American journeys of a diplomat's wife

The North American journeys of a diplomat's wife

Henrietta Liston's travel journals, 1796-1801, covering the United States and the West Indies.

The word on the street

The word on the street

Discover early news stories and ballads that informed and entertained Scots between 1650 and 1910 as you browse around 1,800 broadsides.

Theatre posters 1870-1900

Theatre posters 1870-1900

A glimpse of the theatre in 19th-century Edinburgh — posters and photos of shows, pantomime characters, and actors and actresses of the day.

Thomas Annan's Glasgow

Thomas Annan's Glasgow

Photographs of Glasgow taken by Thomas Annan in the 1860s, with related maps and downloadable learning activities.

Wee Windaes

Wee Windaes

This site charts the continuum of the Scots language in printed form, from the 15th century to the present day.