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
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?)
Contents and Contributions
Articles (scientific); Editorial; Essays; Poems (original); Review; Table of Contents
Dundee District Central Library, The Wellgate
365(5), Lamb Collection
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.