In 2008 I put on a small, internal exhibition at the Faculty of Advocates. The exhibition was based around the unique and wonderful ‘Mummy file’, a collection of letters and newspaper clippings held in the Faculty’s archives.
This file was the result of the huge (and hilarious) interest generated by an article The Scotsman published in May 1958. This is the wonderful story behind the Faculty’s letters…
The Earl of Morton
In the year 1748 James Douglas, 14th Earl of Morton, presented an Egyptian mummy to the Faculty of Advocates Library*. It is not known exactly why the Earl chose to bestow this gift but it was duly accepted and “set up in the Library”. The Advocates Library was always more than just a repository for books. From the earliest times Members were collecting artworks and curios as well as books and manuscripts. The Library became something of a museum and guests – such as the English writer Samuel Johnson – were often shown round the exhibits.
No doubt coincidentally, just 18 months after the Mummy had been stowed away among the stacks, the Faculty Records note an application from the Earl of Morton, on behalf of the Philosophical Society, to hold “their monethly meetings in their Library”**
During its time in the vaults the Faculty Mummy suffered more…
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