Jedburgh Literary Association Manuscript Magazine


The evidence for this society and its magazine comes solely through reports of society meetings published in the local press. An account of the society’s formation was included in the Chairman’s speech at the group’s first social meeting held in January 1880, which was the subject of an article in The Teviotdale Record.

According to the Chairman, about two months prior to the social, there were a number of disputes within the Jedburgh Debating Society, the result being that most of the members of the society resigned and formed the present Literary Association. This event was couched in the positive terms of ‘stirring up the members, and now they all seemed to have the welfare of the Association at heart, and the intellectual improvement of themselves and others’ (‘Jedburgh Literary Association’s Social Meeting’, The Teviotdale Record, 29 January 1870, p. 4).

The literary association took over the lectures formerly provided by the Jedburgh Debating Society. These lectures were provided primarily for the working-classes, and the Chairmen expressed his regret that these were not well-attended as had been hoped.  From this, it appears that (most?) of the members of both the Debating Society and the Literary Association were middle class.

Interestingly, following the Chairman’s speech, one Mr J. D. Peacock, a member of the Women’s Rights’ Association (local branch?), spoke about the association’s work and the important role of women in world history, which included their supportive role in the Disruption of 1843. He ended by expressing the hope that women’s education would be included in the upcoming plans for re-structuring Scotland’s educational system, and finished with a verse from ‘Woman’s Mission’, a poem by Ebenezer Elliott (‘The Corn Law Rhymer’).

To date, the earliest evidence we have of the society’s manuscript magazine comes, unusually, from the poetry section of The Jedburgh Gazette and Border Courier of March 1872. In this section, an anonymous poem entitled ‘On the First Violet of Spring’ is published and credited ‘From Jed. Lit. Assn. MSS. Magazine’ (‘On the First Violet of Spring’, The Jedburgh Gazette and Border Courier, 02 March 1872, p. 4). From this, we know that original poetry at least appeared in the association’s magazine. The poem is on a very standard theme, but the very interesting part is that it is taken from the literary society’s manuscript magazine. Whilst fairly common practice in newspapers in Australia (examples of which are available in the nineteenth-century newspapers digitised on Trove), this is the very first case we have seen where a piece from a literary society magazine has been used in a local newspaper and has been attributed as such.

The magazine appears to have survived until at least 1881, as the next evidence of the society’s magazine comes from a report in The Teviotdale Record on the group’s annual general meeting, which was held in October 1881. Amongst the office-bearers elected for the coming term was Mr J. M’Kean, who was to act as Editor of the magazine (‘Jedburgh Literary Association’, The Teviotdale Record, 08 October 1881, p. 2). No other details are given.

Name of Club, Society or Group That Produced the Magazine

Jedburgh Literary Association

Date of Existence


Date of Magazine

1872 (-1881?)

Number of Issues

(at least) 2 (not extant)

Manuscript/Published Magazine


Contents and Contributions

Poem (original); (other contributions currently unknown)


Heritage Hub, Hawick (both The Teviotdale Record andThe Jedburgh Gazette and Border Courier)