University of Glasgow Archives & Special Collections

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The University of Glasgow’s Archives and Special Collections document the long standing relationship between sport and student life.

Records of sporting clubs associated with the University include the Glasgow University Athletic Club, who organised a wide range of sporting activities since its establishment in 1888; we also hold the records of the University’s Shinty and Boat Clubs.

A variety of perspectives

The personal papers we hold of former students and academics cover sporting activities from a variety of perspectives. Of particular note are the extensive papers on gender verification in sport, found in the papers of geneticist Malcolm Fergusson-Smith – a topic of great debate in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF). Pearl Jephcott’s study of youth culture in 1960s Glasgow includes not just notes on sporting activity but also drawings of sporting action.

Our extensive business archives touch on sport in many ways. Most directly we hold the records of Lanark Racecourse Company. However, sport is also incorporated into a wide range of promotional materials spread across the collections – from beer mats and pump labels through to the House of Fraser and other department stores’ catalogues, which showcase luxury sporting equipment. Sporting competition was part of workplace culture in many companies; the in-house magazines of Finlay’s are one window into this sort of activity.

Photographic collections

The University’s Special Collections also holds significant photographic collections, which include photographs and negatives of sport across the world – from boxing and football aboard the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition to a British Navy cricket match in Manila whilst the city was under American blockade in 1898. The rare books held in Special Collections also include a number of sporting encyclopaedias and compendiums describing historic sporting customs and explaining sports to boys.

Our Archives catalogues are available on ArchivesHub. Special Collections catalogues can be searched from our website.