CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 2478
TitleSir Herbert J. C. Grierson, literary scholar: papers
Datec. 1900 - 1972
Extent116 items (0.66 linear metres)
Creator NameGrierson; Sir; Herbert John Clifford (1866-1960); Knight, Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature, Edinburgh University
Administrative HistorySir Herbert Grierson was born on 16 January 1866 in Lerwick, Shetland. His family had been landowners in Shetland for many generations. He was educated in Lerwick, Cheltenham and Aberdeen, and graduated from Aberdeen University in 1887. He was briefly a teacher, and then studied at Oxford University, before becoming a lecturer in English at Aberdeen University in 1893, and the first professor of English the following year. His area of specialism came to be the seventeenth century, on which he produced many important publications, including a two-volume edition of poems of John Donne in 1912.

Grierson was appointed Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature at Edinburgh University in 1915, a post he held until his retirement in 1935. During his tenure of the post he continued to publish widely, and was recognised as one of the most eminent scholars of the time. Towards the end of his career he began to work on Sir Walter Scott. Between 1932 and 1937 he and others produced a 12-volume edition of Scott's letters, leading to Grierson's own biography of Scott published in 1938. He was elected rector of Edinburgh University in 1936, serving until 1939. He was knighted in 1936. He died at Cambridge on 19 February 1960.

Herbert Grierson married Mary Letitia Ogston (1867/8-1937) on 2 September 1896. She was the daughter of Sir Alexander Ogston (1844 -1929), professor of surgery in Aberdeen and surgeon-in-ordinary to the royal family in Scotland.
SourceIn 1964 Grierson's daughter, Flora Grierson, deposited with the Library the volume containing Grierson's autobiographical notes, along with a collection of family correspondence and other miscellanea. In 1971 Grierson's literary executor, Richard Garnett, deposited the rest of the material, mainly consisting of typescript copies of 'Vita Mea' and Flora Grierson's biographical account of her father's life. The family history written by Grierson's daughter Molly Dickens, 'A Wealth of Relations', was deposited in April 1979 by Richard Garnett.
DescriptionAutobiographical and biographical accounts and related papers ('Vita Mea', my life), undated; personal correspondence, 1915 - 1959; papers relating to Grierson's work and career, 1930 - 1958; photographs of family and friends, undated; miscellaneous printed material, including copy of 'A Wealth of Relations' by Molly Dickens, undated and 1972.
AppraisalThis material has been appraised in line with normal procedures.
AccrualsNone expected.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThe records are available subject to the signed acceptance of the Department's access conditions.
Physical DescriptionNo physical conditions affecting use of collection.
Related MaterialMS 3052 Notes of H. G. Grierson's English lectures given at Aberdeen University, c 1900.
Publication NoteVita Mea: The Autobiography of Sir Herbert J.C. Grierson. (Cairns Craig, Aberdeen University Press, 2015)
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