Glasgow Addisonian Literary Society


Alexander Smith (1829-1867) was a well-known working-class Scottish poet, and was one of the founding members and Secretary of this society. (For more information on Smith, see, for example, ‘Alexander Smith (1829 – 1867)‘ on the Scottish Poetry Library website.) Named after Joseph Addison (1672-1719), co-founder of the influential magazine, The Spectator, this mutual improvement group consisted of approximately a dozen young men who met on Saturday evenings in a coffee house in Candleriggs (in Merchant City, in the heart of the city centre).

Date of Existence

22 May 1847-1852

Source of Information

1. Glasgow Addisonian Literary Society, Minute Book (Note: currently unknown if this is still housed at Dick Institute, Kilmarnock (20/09/17));

2. Brisbane, T., The Early Years of Alexander Smith, Poet and Essayist. A Study for Young Men, Chiefly Reminiscences of Ten Years’ Companionship (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1869) (ML, Mitchell (GC) 821.8 SMI 9/BRI 31794);

3. Kilpatrick, James A., Literary Landmarks of Glasgow (Glasgow: Saint Mungo Press, 1893), p. 248 (MLSC, Mitchell (AL) KIL);

4. Berry, Simon, Applauding Thunder: Life, Work and Critics of Alexander Smith (Inverness: FTTR Press, 2013), [passim] (MLSC, Mitchell (AL) 821.8 SMI 9/BER);

5. ‘Alexander Smith (poet)’, Wikipedia <> [accessed 20/08/17];

6. (Note: several newspaper clippings throughout Young’s Scrapbooks (various volumes, e.g. Vol. 12, pp. 4-5; Vol. 14, p. 13-15) on Smith (MLSC)


Mitchell Library (ML)

Mitchell Library Special Collections (MLSC)

Dick Institute, Kilmarnock

Reference Number

(See Source of Information)

Additional Notes