University of Strathclyde Archives, Barony MS Magazine, August 1863, [title page] (GB 249 T-MIN/18/1/2)
Barony M.S. Magazine (August 1863)
The Barony Mutual Improvement Society was formed in 1863 by young men from the congregation of the Barony Church (built 1889) (not to be confused with the Barony Free Church Literary Society). They later changed their name to the Barony Young Men’s Association.
This group produced manuscript magazines by and for their members between 1863 and 1875. There are six volumes housed in the University of Strathclyde Archives (GB 249 T-MIN/18/1/1-6): July 1863; August 1863; September 1863; August 1864; March 1869; and 1873-1875. The earliest magazine that we have, the July 1863 volume, is actually the third that they made.
The August 1863 issue of the Barony M.S. Magazine is fairly typical of mutual improvement society magazines, which are invariably miscellanies, containing a mixture of prose and poetry, fiction and non-fiction pieces on various topics, along with original artwork and even music. A unique feature of this genre is the readers’ ‘Criticisms’: readers would write their comments about the articles into the back of the magazine after they were done reading it. This society was unusual, however, in that they had a very active critical community of readers. Their August 1863 issue digitised here contains a remarkable 25 pages of criticisms. A transcription of selections from this volume is in progress.
See also St. Stephen’s Literary Society’s Magazine (1883-1884). This issue is available on the Literary Bonds website, which is exclusively devoted to magazines of this type.