National Library of Scotland

The John Murray Archive Acquisition

National Library of Scotland (NLS) is in the process of making a major acquisition - the acquisiton of the John Murray Archive, a world famous publishing archive featuring great writers and thinkers of the 19th century including Lord Byron, Charles Darwin, David Livingstone and Jane Austen. NLS aims to make the archive truly accessible to the general public through a variety of means including the provision of online resources, educational workshops and a permanent exhibition space.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from to




  • Arts/Culture/HeritageArts/Culture/Heritage
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Sports/RecreationSports/Recreation


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Older PeopleOlder People
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)
  • OtherOther



Recognising the public demand to access NLS, the Library publicly launched a new strategy in 2004. The main objective was to strengthen and develop public access and enjoyment of the national collection and in so doing, position NLS as an international leader. Founded in 1689 as the Library of the Faculty of Advocates, and gifted to the Nation by the Advocates in 1925, NLS has grown to become one of the largest and most important libraries in the world. The remarkable and comprehensive collections have been built up through donation, purchase and privilege of legal deposit resulting in an outstanding collection of more than 14million items. More than 68,000 readers visit NLS each year, consulting the 14million items. 3.3 million online visitors access resources via the internet and over 140,000 members of the public attend our annual programme of exhibitions and events. In 2002 John Murray VII offered NLS the opportunity to acquire the JMA, one of the world’s most important publisher’s archives. The Archive contains over 150,000 original manuscripts comprising of the personal papers of an unrivalled list of individuals who helped shape the modern world. The JMA is an Archive about people, and people are at the heart of the project. The JMA Project will provide a platform for NLS to transform services and create opportunities for public access and benefit from the collection. A large part of this project will involve the creation of new facilities for audiences to engage with the Archive; exhibitions, cultural and learning programmes, extended reader facilities, and unparalleled digital access. The richness of the Archive derives from the range of individuals represented, including great thinkers and writers who shaped the 19th Century in literature, travel and exploration, science, engineering and technology, politics and religion. Charles Darwin, Lord Byron, Jane Austen, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, Washington Irving, David Livingstone, William Ewart Gladstone, Herman Melville, William Wordsworth, S T Coleridge, Benjamin Disraeli, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, Edith Wharton, Allan Cunningham, Elizabeth Gaskell, Patrick Brontë and J M Barrie, are but a few of those published by Murray. PROJECT COSTS The JMA Project costs are £33.2million. Since 2005 NLS staff and volunteer Campaign Group have raised £2.8million for the Campaign and leveraged a further £26.7million from Government, HLF and Library sources. Fundraising for the Campaign is ongoing to raise the final £3.7million required to complete the acquistion of the John Murray Archive.