Dundee Diagnostic Society’s Volume for 1846

Dundee Diagnostic Society, Dundee Diagnostic Society’s Volume for 1846, [title page], 1846 (Libraries, Leisure and Culture Dundee, D80.6). Permission for the use of this image has kindly been granted by Libraries, Leisure and Culture Dundee.


Unusually, The Dundee Diagnostic Society’s Volume for 1846 was published in the ‘traditional’ manner, printed specially for the society by McCosh, Park & Dewars. The content is partially highlights from the society’s MS magazine, and partially pieces specially composed for the printed volume. The contents are a mix of essays and poetry.

The contributors are anonymous, but correspondence in the Dundee Advertiser in 1904 revealed that they included William Baxter (later a politician based in Montrose), Jane Elizabeth Baxter, Peter Greenhill, Robert Matthew and Jessie Scott (who later married the above William Baxter). Some of the pieces have been retrospectively attributed to their authors – for example, William Baxter contributed an essay on “The Legislative Policy of Great Britain,” perhaps foreshadowing his career plans – but several are still unknown. Those by female contributors are marked as ‘by A Lady,’ indicating that different factors were taken into consideration when assessing women’s writing as opposed to men’s.

The Dundee Diagnostic Society operated between 1844 and 1847. During the 1840s, many societies were founded in Dundee, and many others also found themselves short-lived.

Name of Club, Society or Group That Produced the Magazine

Dundee Diagnostic Society (Note: this might be a different society from the Diagnostic Society (1848?-?)

Date of Existence


Date of Magazine


Number of Issues

1 published (earlier MS magazine(s) not extant?)

Manuscript/Published Magazine

Print (Note: ‘Prefatory Notice’ states that ‘The Volume is composed partly of articles which were originally contributions to the society’s M.S. Magazine…’)

Contents and Contributions

Articles (non-fiction); Essays; Poems (original); Title page


Dundee District Central Library, The Wellgate

National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh


D80.6 (Dundee)

Jac.IV.4/2 (Edinburgh)

Additional Notes

These magazines were collected in the 1860s by A.C. Lamb, a Dundee temperance hotelier. Many of the societies represented met on premises owned by either himself or, in earlier decades, in his father Thomas’ coffee house. Lamb was often involved in society life himself, and his collection of over 450 boxes covers a wide range of material relating to literature, poetry, culture and politics in Victorian Dundee. For more information on this material, please contact local.history@leisureandculturedundee.com.