Bequeathed by the Gaelic scholar John Francis Campbell of Islay (1822-85), and received by the Faculty of Advocates on his death, this collection comprises 610 printed items in 270 volumes, his correspondence, journals and papers bound up into 134 volumes, and a collection of maps. The printed material in the collection - books, pamphlets, periodicals, offprints - is of the late 18th and the early 19th century, and is largely concerned with Highland folklore, Ossianic literature, and related Celtic subjects. Many of the volumes are annotated in Campbell?s own hand with his pithy and pertinent comments, and some are further illustrated with his own photographs. Although best known for collecting the Gaelic folklore of the West Highlands, published as Popular Tales of the West Highlands, 4 vols. (1860-62), Campbell was a man of wide interests. He travelled in Scandinavia, and the manuscript collection contains his lively journals and sketch-books, which record the landscapes and customs of the countries he visited.
The manuscripts are briefly described in the Library?s Summary Catalogue of the Advocates? Manuscripts, Edinburgh, 1971, and in detail in the unpublished catalogues of the Advocates? manuscripts being prepared by the Library, and of Scottish Gaelic manuscripts being prepared by R.A. Black. The maps are included in the Map Library catalogue. Lamplighter and Story-teller: John Francis Campbell of Islay, 1821-1885 [exhibition catalogue], Edinburgh, 1985.