This association initially met on Saturday mornings from 9.30-10.30 (later changed to 12.30-1.30pm, and then to 10-11am) in the Hall of Blythswood Church, located at 258 Bath Street (near Charing Cross). The yearly session ran from November or December until April. Membership was open to students who belonged to the Church of Scotland, some of whom were studying at the University of Glasgow for the ministry of the Church of Scotland. The group’s objects were to encourage conviviality and literary culture. As was the norm for many of these societies, meetings were opened and closed with prayer.
There are no (extant?) roll books for this association, but the number of members who attended each meeting was recorded in the minutes. From these, in the 1877-1878 session, it appears that there were at least 50 members of this group (the number of attendees at the opening meeting), but normally only between 10 and 20 people attended. In the following year, there seems to have been a drop in numbers, with only 15 members attending the opening meeting, and between 7 and 10 members at the meetings thereafter. The minutes end part-way through the session, on 8 February 1879.
The minute book is then taken over by the Glasgow University Theological Society in 1881. There was some continuity between the two societies in that there were several office bearers and committee members of The Church of Scotland Students’ Literary Association who later served the same or similar roles in the Theological Society. The new society was more focused on religious issues and doctrine than the previous group, which regularly included essays on authors (e.g. Tennyson, Byron, Milton, Wordsworth, Scott, and Schiller in the 1877-1878 session alone), and on literature and language more generally.
Date of Existence
Source of Information
1. Minute Book, Church of Scotland Students’ Literary Association, 1877-83;
2. Minutes of Church of Scotland Students’ Literary Association, 10th November 1877 to 8th February 1879;
3. Printed constitution of Literary Association, list of officers and syllabus, 1877-78
University of Glasgow Special Collections (UGSC)
MS Gen 945