Millgate Union Catalogue of Walter Scott Correspondence

Description of Separate Fields

Reference number

Each record is assigned a unique reference number that is used for cross references within the catalogue, e.g. 'see ref #1234'. For those wishing to cite a particular record from the catalogue, the suggested form is: 'see Millgate #1234'.

Name of correspondent

The order used for names is surname, first name(s), title. The records for individual letters give names and titles as they existed at the time the letter was written, e.g. Robert Peel is not given as Sir Robert Peel until after he inherits the baronetcy in 1830. Variations in name occur most frequently with women and with members of the aristocracy: Margaret Maclean Clephane, for example, becomes successively Lady Compton and Marchioness of Northampton. As noted below, however, the use of unique correspondent numbers ensures that selection of the option to find all letters to or from a particular correspondent will elicit a comprehensive response, regardless of any changes of name.

Correspondent number

This is a unique number assigned to each correspondent in the catalogue; it appears at the end of records to permit the subsequent viewing of all records for a single correspondent, regardless of any changes of name or style. The inclusion of this number in the initial search results also enables users to see at a glance when an initial search has produced records for more than one correspondent of the same name.

To / From

Allows the records for letters written by Scott to a particular correspondent to be separated from the records for letters received by Scott from that correspondent.


A standardised form of the date is provided in this field: YYYY :MM :DD. In some cases only a year or a year and a month can be established; in the case of doubtful dates '?' is inserted at relevant points; occasionally '+' is inserted to indicate that the letter dates from the year or month cited or from some later point in time; for some letters a range of possible years is suggested, e.g. '1820-22'. Where all or part of the date provided in this field differs from the information in the Date on letter field, an explanation is provided in the Notes field. A search for all letters to or from any correspondent written in a particular year or range of years can be done by inserting the appropriate years in the search and clicking on Search by Year Only.

Date on letter

Records the date exactly as it appears in the source document.

Salutation and opening words

The salutation is recorded exactly as it appears in the source document, without any final punctuation, and is separated from the opening eight words by a slash.

Sender's address

Recorded as it appears on the source document, but with commas inserted between the separate elements of the address: e. g. 'Albemarle Street, London.'

Recipient's address

Recorded as it appears on the address leaf of the source document, with commas inserted between the separate elements: e. g. 'Rokeby, Greta Bridge, Yorkshire.'

Source document

Whenever the original manuscript has been traced, it becomes the source document for the record and is described as 'ms aut', or, for letters written by an amanuensis, 'ms aman'. When letters survive only as copies, whether manuscript or typed, or in printed form, this information is recorded by means of the following abbreviations: 'ms copy' for letters that have been found only in the form of manuscript copies; 'ts copy' for letters that survive only as typed copies; 'print' for letters that survive only in printed form. Where the only text traced is a photocopy or microfilm, the abbreviation '(pc)' or '(mf)' is added: e.g. 'ms aut (pc)'. Any special points about the nature of the source document are entered in the Notes field.


Where additional manuscript or typed copies of letters have been found, the locations of such transcripts are given in this field. Many of the letters printed in the Grierson edition of Scott's letters were derived from manuscript copies in what was then called the Abbotsford Collection but now resides in the National Library of Scotland under a range of manuscript numbers. Annotations in the Notes field indicate when the source of a text in the Grierson edition is a copy rather than the original manuscript.

Document location

The information needed to locate the source document. An institution for which the name of the town or city does not form part of the name has this information added. For UK institutions nothing further is supplied; for US institutions the abbreviation for the State is included (e.g. CA for California); for institutions elsewhere, the name of the country is included (e.g. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich, Germany). Then follows any catalogue reference or other details identifying the particular manuscript or group of manuscripts, folio or item numbers being supplied as and when required. Enquiries about particular letters should be addressed to the institution holding the document, citing the full information given in this field. The inclusion of '(private)' after a location indicates that the letter is privately owned and not accessible in a public collection.

Print location

For letters printed in whole or in part in The Letters of Sir Walter Scott, ed. H. J. C. Grierson et al., 12 vols. (London: Constable, 1932-37), a reference by volume and page number is supplied, preceded by the abbreviation SL. For letters not appearing in the Grierson edition but available in other published sources, a short-title reference with volume and page number is provided. Such references are designed to be self-evident, but full details of all published sources are given in the list of Printed Sources.


Additional information about any of the other fields is provided here: e.g., indications of sources for the dates assigned to letters not fully dated by the sender.

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