Virtual Alumni Weekend, 16-18 April 2021
We are delighted to support the Virtual Alumni Weekend with a quick glance behind the scenes at the records we hold in the University archive about former students and some of the information that they reveal.
They include Registers of the Members of General Council which date back to 1860. These are still kept up to date, but are no longer as interesting or useful as in former years due to data protection legislation.
The early registers are wide and thin, in landscape format, and beautifully hand-written in ink. There is one book per year. From 1860 to 1904 the registers are handwritten. From 1905 to 1934 there are handwritten and printed copies. From 1934 the registers are printed only. There we find a list of all living former students with their designation, including degree, and their address. There are often additional notes which can give extra information about the profession or later life story of alumni which can be very useful in answering the enquiries that the Library frequently receives about former students.
There are also papers of the Executive and other committees of the General Council from 1859 which comprise minutes, letters, and election papers and poll books for the 19th century assessors as well as standing orders, notices of motions etc. The registration forms (UYUY630) provide full name, degree and year in which it was obtained, profession, address, date and place of birth, and the nationality of the graduate’s father so can be useful sources of biographical information, providing leads for further research.
The archive also contains records of the Alumnus Association whose letter books contain a good deal of correspondence about placing graduates in jobs up to about 1948. There are also records of many alumnus clubs, notably the After Many Days Club.
The aim of the After Many Days Club was ‘to revive and renew old friendships among former students of St Andrews University; to maintain and increase among them an organised interest in the welfare, and to stimulate the progress, of the University of St Andrews.’
It should be noted that the coffee stain on this item was in place before it was added to the archive! There are a number of alumnus clubs whose records are to be found in the archive, but most of them aren’t yet listed in any detail. There is material from the following clubs:
- Aberdeen and Northern Counties Club
- After Many Days Club
- Border Association
- Central African Association
- Dental Association
- Engineers Association
- Forty-five club
- Glasgow and West of Scotland Association
- London Club
- Malayan Association
- Manchester Association
- New York Medical Alumni Society
- Ninety Minutes Club
- Northumberland and Durham branch
- Non graduate members association
- Old Red Gown Club
- St Salvator’s Club
- South African Association
- Toronto Club
- Town Students Re-Union Club
- UCS Womens Re-union Club
- University Halls of Residence Association
- Womens Association, Edinburgh
- Yorkshire Association
- 1930-40 Club
- The ’55 Club
- The St Andrean
Should any of our readers hold similar material, we would be happy to hear from them if they wished to donate it to the University Library.
There are less formal records relating to former students scattered across our holdings, including reminiscences, student society material, items donated by former students, oral history recordings, and publications to name just a few. Some of the files of student reminiscences gathered together in the 1920s even include family graduate memories dating back to the mid-19th century (UYUY310/M).
The recorded information about graduates and the evidence of graduate activity as alumni after graduation, continuing their links and memories of their time at University here, are a valuable part of the institution’s archive. We hope you enjoy your virtual weekend!
Senior Archivist (Keeper of Manuscripts and Muniments)