Dundee Natural History and Literary Magazine (in 1848 becomes the Dundee Natural History Magazine)

Dundee Natural History and Literary Magazine, [title page], Vol. III, July-December 1847 (Libraries, Leisure and Culture Dundee, 365(5), Lamb Collection). Permission for the use of this image has kindly been granted by Libraries, Leisure and Culture Dundee.


In the 1830s and 1840s, there appears to have been a strong connection between natural history and literature in Dundee (see also The Wreath of Wild Flowers and the Literary and Scientific Institute). This magazine divided its pages between Botany, Gleanings in Natural History, Ornithology, Geology, Poetry, Reviews, and Miscellaneous (which included travel reports or editors’ notes.)

Contributors to this magazine published under their real names, and these include botanist G. Lawson, who produced most of the content, John Sime (a schoolteacher who was active in several societies) and John Findlay. The only pseudonym is the “Mountain Muse,” almost certainly the poet Alexander Wilson, a weaver from Alyth who moved into Dundee, who contributed a piece on “The Plants of the Bible.” Another weaver poet James Gow, a Chartist and the author of “Lays of the Loom,” also contributed a poem entitled “The Snow Drop” to an issue of the magazine.

Gow and Wilson knew each other from an earlier group known as “The Republic of Letters” (see ‘Additional Notes’ below), politically active writers who met in Dundee pubs and weaving sheds in the 1830s. James Adie, who contributed geographical essays, was also involved in the Dundee Literary and Scientific Institute around this time. He later emigrated to Canada, where he died in a snowstorm.

Name of Club, Society or Group That Produced the Magazine

(Currently unknown if this is a formal society)

Date of Existence

Jul. 1846?-?

Date of Magazine

Vol. I., Dundee, 1846, Jul. to Dec. 1846; Vol, II., Jan. to Jun. 1847; Vol. III, Jul. to Dec. 1847

Number of Issues

18 issues (not extant?)

Manuscript/Published Magazine


Contents and Contributions

Articles (scientific); Editorial; Essays; Poems (original); Review; Table of Contents


Dundee District Central Library, The Wellgate


365(5), Lamb Collection

Additional Notes

See also The Dundee Literary Society’s Magazine, and The Attic Journal.

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.