The Sir Charles Lyell Collection at the University of Edinburgh

Following an immensely successful fundraising campaign in 2019, the University of Edinburgh acquired Lyell’s 294 geological notebooks in which he recorded his ideas, theories, drawings and discoveries over a 40+ year period. This collection alone represents one of the greatest bodies of scientific observation from the 19th century; however, the University Library also recently acquired a substantial and varied collection of Lyell archives and papers. This additional collection was allocated by HM Government under the Acceptance in Lieu of Inheritance Scheme, from the estate of the 3rd baron Lyell.

This second tranche is just as exciting as the notebooks and includes over 900 letters to and from Lyell (including additional letters from Darwin, Joseph Dalton Hooker, John Murray, etc.); intimate correspondence between Lyell and his wife, Mary Lyell, née Horner, and his wider family; autograph manuscripts of a number of lectures delivered both in the United States and in the United Kingdom; a part of the autograph manuscript of “Principles of Geology;” maps commissioned for lectures and publications; and heavily annotated editions of “Principles of Geology” marked up for later editions

Follow the care and development of the collection here.