Skip to Main Content

Archives and Special Collections: Chapbooks

Collection information

Collection: Chapbooks

Classmark: starts 'Reserve M 970...'

Biographical/Administrative History:

Chapbooks are pamphlets containing ballads, fairy tales and tracts, which were printed in the 18th and 19th centuries and sold by travelling pedlars. They were cheaply produced and were aimed at ordinary people, and so the quality is generally not high. The Library's collection features chapbooks printed in Scotland between 1790-1890. Many were printed in Stirling or Falkirk, but we also have examples from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Paisley, Airdrie and Fintray. Local chapbook printers include Charles Randall, Mary Randall and William Macnie.

Contents: chapbooks with a Scottish imprint from the period 1790-1890.

Extent: Over 200 chapbooks

Catalogue information

Additional collection information

Custodial history: The chapbooks have come from a variety of different sources. Most were donated to the Library. Donors include Mrs Rona Mavor (from the library of James Bridie), Paisley Public Library and Margaret Thomson. Many have the bookplates of former owners, including Robert Keith of Craig and W. L. Lorimer.

Accruals: This collection may be extended if suitable material is available.

Access conditions: Please contact us in advance of a visit by emailing

Language: English (Scots).

Using the collection

Archives Reading Room

Opening Hours:

10.00 am - 1.00 pm / 2.00 pm - 4.00 pm

Monday - Friday

Contact us:

Tel. 01786 466619


Please contact us in advance of your visit. Material can be ordered in advance by emailing us at