Stevenson Papers

Reference code(s): GB 0233 Acc 9200, 11421
Held at: National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division
Domain: archival
Title: Stevenson Papers
Date(s) of contents: 1810-1916
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: Nine files of archival material, including five photographs.


Name of creator(s): Stevenson, William (1839-1916)

Administrative/Biographical history: Reverend William Stevenson was born in 1839, the son of Elizabeth (1810-1894), née Young, the daughter of the William Young, postmaster at Methven, in Perthshire, Scotland. Stevenson studied at New College, Edinburgh, as well as the University of Tübingen in Germany. He obtained an MA and was ordained by the Free Church Presbytery of Perth in 1864. He went on to become a missionary with the Free Church of Scotland in Madras from 1864 to 1883, and also acted as Secretary of the Women's Foreign Missions of the Free Church and United Free Church of Scotland from 1886 to 1916. He married Fordyce ("Dycie") Watt. Stevenson died in 1916.

Custodial history:

Immediate source of acquisition: The National Library of Scotland was presented with Acc 9200 in 1986, and Acc 11421 in 1997.


Scope and content/abstract: The collection relates to William Stevenson and to his relatives (ie, the Stevenson, Young and Watt families).

Acc 9200 includes the following elements:
1. Letters (1852-1865 and n.d.) from various ministers concerning Stevenson's work or their own.
2. Nine letters (1863-85) of Dr William Miller (1838-1923), Principal of Madras Christian College, plus a printed memorandum by Miller to the Free Church Foreign Mission Committee (FCFMC) entitled 'The Christian College for Madras' (1874).
3. Two letters (1864) of Dr Alexander Duff (1806-78). Three letters (1863-4) of Dr Robert S Candlish, Interim Convenor of the FCFMC, offering Stevenson a post in Madras, along with drafts of Stevenson's letter of acceptance, and of his 1883 letter of resignation.
4. c58 letters (1863-70) of or concerning Colin A Graham, a friend and fellow-student of Stevenson at New College, many written during Graham's stay in Australia (1866).
5. Material relating to licences, certificates and a prize granted to Stevenson by the Free Church (1858-64).
6. Material relating to the Free Church's appreciation of Stevenson subsequent to his retirement (1883-1907), and five miscellaneous letters to him (1903-8, n.d.) including one from George Patterson, Secretary of the Christian Literature Society of India.
7. Material (1863) relating to academic appointments at New College, Edinburgh, and typescript copy (1916) of tribute to Stevenson.
8. Notebook of lecture notes made by Stevenson at the university of Tübingen, Germany in 1863.
9. Five photographs including one of Madras Christian College, plus an unidentified building and portraits. Photocopies of tributes to Stevenson.

Acc 11421 includes the following elements:
1. A commonplace book (c1810-46) of William Young, Stevenson's maternal grandfather.
2. Letters (1844-68) to Fordyce Watt and to other members of the Watt family, relating to life in Liverpool, London and Australia.
3. Letters (1868-77) from his Watt brothers-in-law to Stevenson, relating to education and ministry in Australia, the Free Church and to mission work in Madras.
4. Letters (c1863) to Stevenson from friends relating visits to London, Germany and Switzerland. Passport (1862) of Stevenson's friend George Morice.

System of arrangement: The collection is arranged as per the outline described in Scope and content.


Language: Mainly English, with a little material in an Indian vernacular.

Conditions governing access:

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids: Inventories are available for both Acc 9200 and Acc 11421.



Note: Description compiled using the collection itself.

Date(s) of descriptions: July 2002.

Educational institutions
Educational missionaries
Educational missionary work
Mission administration
Mission educational institutions
Mission policy
Missionary societies
Missionary work
Ordained missionaries
Religious activities
Religious groups
Religious organizations

Personal names
Miller | William | 1838-1923 | Doctor | principal of Madras Christian College
Stevenson | William | 1839-1916 | clergyman and missionary with the Free Church of Scotland in India
Watt | Fordyce | wife of William Stevenson, Free Church of Scotland missionary
Watt | family

Corporate names
Free Church of Scotland
Madras Christian College
Women's Foreign Missions of the Free Church and United Free Church of Scotland

South Asia
Western Europe