Edinburgh Collegiate Magazine


Members of this literary club were enrolled at Edinburgh Collegiate College. Opened in 1868, the College was located at Nos. 27/28, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh. From a photograph of the group in the 1871 magazine, the club was quite small (if all members were indeed present), there being only five boys in the photo.

The number of contributions to this magazine is unusually large: there are 51 pieces, and 39 illustrations that are listed separately in the table of contents at the front. The entire issue has a hefty total of 694 pages, particularly considering that it only had 13 contributors that included non-members of the group (see below). It may be that the pieces were written over a number of months and were collected and bound into one volume for a Christmas number.

According to the magazine’s list of rules, contributors did not have to be a member of the club. Although anonymous contributions were permitted, many of the authors signed their names at the end of their pieces. The order of the contributions was determined by the date when they were received by the Editor, who could reject any unsuitable material. Swearing and ‘bad language’ was not allowed.

Further, the group voted for those who were allowed to contribute, and could democratically dismiss them as well. Contributors had to submit a piece of not less than four pages to every other issue of the magazine. The order of reading was determined by the order in which the contributions were received, and each reader only had 2 nights to keep the issue. Emphasis was placed on original stories and artwork. Interestingly, the group wished to underscore the seriousness of their endeavours and of their club’s rules by punishing transgressors: Rule XI states ‘That Punishment be determined by ballot.’

Perhaps not surprising for this age group, this magazine is more of a boys’ adventure magazine, with serial fictional stories by the contributors, with simple accompanying illustrations of ships, campfire scenes, or of imaginative exotic places, many of the stories even having their own illustrated title page at the start. Other contributions include filler materials like enigmas and riddles.

The next extant issue of The Edinburgh Collegiate Magazine dates from March 1890 and is a print magazine. According to the ‘Editorial’, the College magazine was being revived after lapsing around 1885. This is a slimmer volume with 12 contributions including the editorial, ‘Correspondence’ and ‘Notice to Contributors’ features. Primarily, it reports on the College’s activities and this issue focuses on the sports clubs. The next extant issue dates from February 1891 and also contains college news and sports, but includes articles on Emily Bronte and a couple of travel stories.

Name of Club, Society or Group That Produced the Magazine

Edinburgh Collegiate Club

Date of Existence


Date of Magazine

Christmas 1871; No. 1, March 1890; Vol. II, No. 1, February 1891

Number of Issues

3 (extant)

Manuscript/Published Magazine

Manuscript (Christmas 1871); Print (No. 1, March 1890; Vol. II, No. 1, February 1891)

Contents and Contributions

Art/Illustrations (original); Articles (non-fiction); Correspondence column; Editorials; Essays; Letter to Editor; List of contributors; Magazine Rules; Photograph (members); Poems (original); Puzzles; Riddles;  Serial articles/stories; Table of Contents; Title page


Edinburgh Central Library (ECL) (Christmas 1871; No. 1, March 1890; Vol. II, No. 1, February 1891)

National Library of Scotland (NLS) (Vol. II, No. 1, February 1891)


ECL reference for Christmas Number: Class No. YLF 1135 E23 C; Book No. C5564;

ECL reference for 1890-91 print magazines: Class No. qYLF 1135 E23 C; Book No. 21311

NLS reference for Vol. II, No. 1, February 1891: Q.50