Student Life

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The Friends are intrinsically connected to the University of Edinburgh. Many members are alumni themselves, and their collections catalogue University life throughout the years. Lecture notes and reports on the 1838 Riots serve as unofficial histories of the student body, underscoring the day-to-day affairs of the classes of 1797, 1894, and 1867.

David Pollock’s lecture notes

For a glimpse into what 18th century Edinburgh students were learning, here are a few pages from David Pollock’s lecture notes on a natural history course. Studies of natural history ranged from mineralogy to zoology, with one section devoted to worms. Pollock decorates each section’s title cards.

A.B. Taylor’s notebooks

A. B. Taylor was another Edinburgh student and prolific note-taker. However, his notebook itself tells us more about student life in Edinburgh: it is stamped inside the cover with a logo from Gardiner’s, a stationery store with locations at 66 South Bridge and 14 Teviot Place.

These are now Wild Yarrow and Armstrong’s Vintage respectively, as seen on the map below.

Students were vocal about the altercation, writing songs, poetry, and even riddles in a student publication called Snowdrop. Listen to current students Léna Lagrue, Xenia Lütjohann, and Maisie Graham read pieces from the 1838 issue of Snowdrop.

Textbook marginalia

Though we don’t know who annotated Tait’s Historical Sketch of the Dynamical Theory of Heat, seen in more detail in creation/progress, it is possible to eke out some of their study methods and note-taking systems; sections marked with “x” seem to indicate material that needs revising, and “xx” material that really needs revising.

They also note sections that Tait (or another lecturer) omitted in class.