Special and Named Printed Collections


Part of the library of George Combe WS (1788-1858), founder of the Edinburgh Phrenological Society and author of many works propagating the influential 19th-century pseudo-science of phrenology, was bequeathed to the Faculty of Advocates and received by the Library c. 1868. The printed collection comprises over 600 items in 256 volumes, including many editions of Combe's own writings, proof copies of books and articles, reviews of his works and polemics against his views, and many works published in Europe and America on phrenology, secular education, prison reform and physiology. In 1950 Combe's papers were presented to the National Library by the Combe Trustees; these consist of his correspondence, notebooks and journals, lecture notes, financial and legal papers bound up in 315 volumes, and 16 charters. Works on phrenology continue to be added to the Library?s printed collections.

Shelf catalogue and typescript inventory. The manuscripts are described and indexed in Vol. V of the Library's Catalogue of Manuscripts. J.E. Sait, 'The Combe Collection in the National Library of Scotland', The Bibliotheck, 8 (1976), 53-54.

Shelfmark: Combe.

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