The Holyrood Magazine

The Holyrood Magazine, Xmas 1897, [title page] (©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections, 891047)Overview


A summary of the history of the Holyrood Literary Society is available on our sister website, Glasgow’s Literary Bonds (see ‘Additional Notes’ below).

This magazine has a paper cover (as shown in the accompanying photograph) and has been hand-stitched with blue ribbon, with even the frontispiece — a small (gouache?) painting of a cottage — being sown into its pages.

The Christmas 1897 issue is the first number produced by this society. There are 84 pages with 12 contributions (including the frontispiece). With the exception of one anonymous piece and one signed with a pen-name, all of the authors sign with their own names. There is an equal mix of prose and poetry. Similarly to the New Literary Club Magazine, there is a ‘Page of Confessions’, which is a list of ‘favourite’ items that must be filled in (e.g. ‘Your favourite Author’; ‘Your favourite Book’, etc., ending with ‘What is the height of your ambition’).

Loosely inserted amongst its pages is a list of the magazine’s readers with their respective addresses. This paper also includes the rules of circulation, which allow only two days for reading, whereupon the reader must pass it to the next member on the list and record the date on which it was delivered.

While the society was a mixed-gender group, it appears that its 1897 magazine was contributed to solely by the male members. Indeed, the second piece by one ‘Sister Viola’ is actually a satirical sermon that uses the comic song, ‘Where Did You Get That Hat?’ (‘Chorus: Where did you get that hat? Where did you get that tile?…’) as a modern illustration for the lines from Ezekiel 4:1 of taking a tile. This was in keeping with the light, humorous tone of most of the magazine, and was almost certainly authored by one of the male members.

Name of Club, Society or Group That Produced the Magazine

Holyrood Literary Society. On 24 September 1897 it amalgamated with the Literary Twenty-One Club and retained its name. On 3 October 1899, it changed its name to the Holyrood Literary Club, and later to the New Holyrood Club.  (Glasgow)

Date of Existence

The Holyrood Literary Society was formed in 1894, and, inclusive of its later incarnations, was in existence until 1946(?).

Date of Magazine

Xmas 1897

Number of Issues


Manuscript/Published Magazine


Contents and Contributions

Art/Illustrations (original); Circulation List; Clippings (printed material); Editorial; Essays; Fiction/Narrative; Frontispiece; Magazine Rules; ‘Page of Confessions’; Photographs (previously published); Poems (original); Poem (translation); Table of Contents


Mitchell Library Special Collections


(Note: The Literary Twenty-one Club records are housed together with the records of the Holyrood Club (891047))

Additional Notes

See also entry for Holyrood Literary Society on our sister website, Glasgow’s Literary Bonds.