The College Stethescope and Literary Index

The College Stethescope, and Literary Index, No. 1, 3 January 1828 (©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections, Mitchell (AL) 890768)


Like The Athenaeum, this magazine was founded by and for the students of the University of Glasgow (see ‘Additional Notes’ below). The idea to start a periodical was raised at a student meeting presumably in late 1827.  There are four issues of this weekly magazine, each of which is only four pages. It is unknown if further issues were produced after January 1828.

The students voted unanimously to start a magazine that would contain their original contributions. The difficulty they had was deciding what they would call it. The first issue reports on the discussions that ensued and the few suggestions that were offered, including the ‘Stethescope and Literary Index’. The stethoscope being, apparently, mostly unknown, and the student defines it to his colleagues as he was told it by an acquaintance, a medical student:

‘…that it was an instrument, used to detect disease in the internals, by an application of it to the bared breast of the patient, I judged that this would be a most original title for our work, and withal, superlatively suitable’ ([Editorial], The College Stethescope and Literary Index, No. I, 3 January 1828, p. 1).

The Chairman then laid out the purpose of the magazine as follows:

‘…it will take cognizance of the whole internal arrangement of the University, the Lord Rector, Principal, Professors, and the various classes of students, in the several departments of Divinity, Law, Literature and Medicine, in order that, in cases where diseases shall be found to exist, it may by a timely application of purgatives and correctives, prevent further devastation of the College frame.
As a Literary Index, it will embrace original productions of every kind, whether in prose or verse, serious criticisms, or humorous sketches; in short, every species of writing, except polemical divinity’ (Ibid).

The magazine was priced at 1d, which was to cover the printing and delivery costs. Generally, each issue has the same layout: there are one or two articles followed by one or two poems or songs, with the correspondence column at the very end. The articles are anonymous and presumably by the Editor/s, but the poetry and songs are signed with the contributors’ initials.

Name of Club, Society or Group That Produced the Magazine

(Students of the University of Glasgow)

Date of Existence

3 Jan. 1828-?

Date of Magazine

3 Jan. 1828

Number of Issues


Manuscript/Published Magazine


Contents and Contributions

Articles (non-fiction); Correspondence column; Editorial; Essays; Poems (original); Reviews; Songs


Mitchell Library Special Collections


Mitchell (AL) 890768

Additional Notes

See also The Athenaeum: An Original Literary Miscellany.