Skip to main content

Correspondence and papers of John Purves (1877-1961), reader in Italian at Edinburgh University from 1938 until his retirement in 1947.

Identifier: MSS.15560-15901

Scope and Contents

John Purves began his teaching career as a lecturer in English under Professor Emile Legouis at Lyons University in 1902, having graduated M.A. at Edinburgh University in 1900, He was a Carnegie Research Scholar in modern languages in Rome and Siena from 1903 to 1904, then lectured in English under Professor Herbert Grierson at Aberdeen University from 1904 to 1906. He became Professor of English at Transvaal Technical Institute, Johannesburg and at Transvaal University College, Pretoria from 1906 to 1916. He served in the Ministry of Information in London during 1917 and 1918, being latterly in charge of the South African Propaganda Department, and then lectured in English and Italian from 1919 to 1920 at Cologne Army College. He was appointed lecturer in Italian at Edinburgh University in 1920.

The bulk of the papers are notebooks used by Purves for lecture notes and private research.


  • Creation: Mid 14th century-[before 1962], undated.

Conditions Governing Access

Normal access conditions apply.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal reproduction conditions apply, subject to any copyright restrictions.


342 Volumes

Language of Materials

Multiple languages


The papers have been arranged under subject headings and placed in rough chronological order within each group (most of them are undated).

The papers are arranged as follows: MSS.15560-15564. Correspondence. MSS.15565-15868. Notebooks. MSS.15869-15887. Notes. MSS.15888-15900. Press cuttings. MS.15901. Photographs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented, 1969, by the Reverend Hugh J N Purves.

Separated Materials

Printed items received with the manuscripts have been transferred to the Department of Printed Books.

National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division
Description rules
International Standard for Archival Description - General
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository

Archives and Manuscript Division
National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1EJ
0131 623 3700