The Overnewton Whisper

The Overnewton Whisper, No. 2, 26 February 1901, [p. 1] (©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections, GC85380 DON; f072.91443 OVE JH)


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

This society’s magazine (as it was called by its contributors) is unusually presented on single sheets, with articles on both sides presented in two columns, echoing broadside or newspaper format. Its self-presentation as a newspaper rather than monthly periodical is highlighted by the title page illustration, which shows the ‘Overnewton Whisper Office’ with a newsboy outside selling ‘Whisper no. 2’.

Four single sheets survive, including the title page. These may not belong to the same edition as three are undated, and the undated sheets include an article (‘Through Feminine Optics’ by Genevieve) and a response to it (‘Through Masculine Optics’ by Savant), presumably written later. Though ‘Genevieve’ might imply a female contributor, Savant’s article mentions ‘one who terms “herself” Genevieve’, which may suggest that one of the society’s young men is writing under a female pseudonym.

The magazine leans more towards the comic, satirical and entertaining than others, and imitates some popular features of newspapers such as an ‘Answers to Correspondents’ column by ‘Our Own Physician’, a gossip column (‘The members of this Club are saying’) and a poetry column. The first sheet includes a list of meetings held by the society on its reverse.

The contents of this periodical are more akin to other mutual improvement society magazines in having a mixture of (mostly) prose essays (n. 6) and a couple of articles. The first of these is on the then current small pox epidemic in the city, which strangely morphs into an article about the upcoming Glasgow Exhibition.

This magazine was printed in bulk and sold to members of the club (and presumably to paying non-members). Its cost, while apparently being a bit of an issue (quoted from an anonymous member: ‘That the best joke in the first magazine was the price’), is not given.

Name of Club, Society or Group That Produced the Magazine

Overnewton Literary Club (Glasgow)

Date of Existence


Date of Magazine


Number of Issues


Manuscript/Published Magazine

Original in manuscript, then print (lithograph?) (see The Foundry Boy, and The Magnet)

Contents and Contributions

Art/Illustrations (original); Articles (non-fiction); Correspondence column; Essays; Filler; Poems (original); Short stories; Sketch


Mitchell Library Special Collections


Mitchell (GC) CD f072 91445 OVE

Additional Notes

This periodical is the size of a broadsheet. Interestingly, this group referred to it as their magazine.

See also entry for Overnewton Literary Club on our sister website, Glasgow’s Literary Bonds.