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The Bartholomew Archive [1]

Photo of Curator of the Bartholomew Archive
Chris Fleet, Map Curator at the National Library of Scotland shares Bartholomew Archive samples
with Bartholomew family members at their international famly gathering of July 2022.

The firm's extensive archive contains business records (principally 1870s-1980s), including manuscripts, maps, photographs, copper plates, and glass plate negatives. Bartholomew was a jobbing printer, so the archive is an invaluable source for publishing and social history, as well as cartography.

In 2007, the National Library of Scotland (NLS) announced that the John R Murray Charitable Trust offered funding of £220,000 over three years (2007-2010) to enable some of the Bartholomew Archive to become more accessible.

The remarkable archive of the Bartholomew mapmaking firm came to NLS in installments over many years, but particularly from 1985 when control passed to HarperCollins (part of News International) from Reader's Digest which had bought the firm in 1980. The largest part of the collection was handed over in 1995 when the Edinburgh operation moved to Bishopbriggs.

Archive image of old books Archive image of copper plateArchive image of draughtsman Archive image of map with correction mark-ups

This material is in several categories, some purchased, some donated or deposited:

1. The Manuscript Archive (donated)
2. The Printing Record (donated)
3. Glass plate negatives (donated)
4. Copperplates (purchased)
5. The Printing Archive (donated)
6. The Firm's Library (purchased)
7. The John Bartholomew Collection - antiquarian atlases (donated)
8. Miscellaneous (donated)

Visit the Bartholomew Archive Website from the button below:

Image of NLS Archive webpage

Digital map collections at the National Library of Scotland (NLS) - A treasure trove
Besides the vast physical archives of maps, atlases, copper plates and business records, the NLS have vastly expanded their online presence in recent years. The NLS team has created a veritable digital treasure trove for family historians. The website provides public access to thousands of old and contemporary maps, including Ordnance Survey maps of Scotland, England and Wales from the 1840s to the 1970s, maps of Scotland dating as far back as the 16th century, estate maps, town plans and military maps.

Explore the exciting interactive tools provided to view maps in the collection here:

Image of NLS digital maps webpage

[1] Partially abridged & adapted from 'Unlocking the Bartholomew Archive' (Diane Webster, NLS).

Photos: Bartholomew family members and National Library of Scotland

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