Other Scott Clubs

The Glasgow Sir Walter Scott Club

Sadly, it seems that we weren't the first Sir Walter Scott Club. A Sir Walter Scott Club was formed in Glasgow in 1891. So, to avoid confusion we had to add Edinburgh to our Club name. 

We have found the following information about the Club:

THE SIR WALTER SCOTT CLUB. Instituted 30th March 1891. The object of the club is to promote the study of Sir Walter Scott's life and writings, and encourage a more familiar acquaintance with the localities rendered classic by his pen. 

George R. Mather was the founder of the original Scott Club. He gave a lecture on "Sir Walter Scott and the Genius of Romance" (published in his obituary in November 1895). 

Punch Magazine (or the London Charivari) Vol 109 from the 6th July 1895.  Wizard And Wittles.— Long life to the Glasgow Sir Walter Scott Club! It "promotes the study of Sir Walter's life and writings, and encourages a more familiar acquaintance with the localities rendered classic by his pen." Ninety members set off the other day to Edinburgh, and drove in four-in-hands to the "beechy grove" at Melville Castle, the Esk and Drummond's Hawthornden, and then on to the castle and chapel at Roslin. Lunch at Dalkeith, dinner at the Balmoral Hotel at Edinburgh, and back rejoicing at eventide to Glasgy, "after the happiest and most successful excursion in the history of the club." This is the way to keep up the dignity of literature. Far better than knighthoods! An excursion "under the presidency of the genial Sheriff Spens," too; no Sheriff Saves this time; and a dinner at the Balmoral to wind up—it's a Talisman to make the heart of Midlothian leap up!

The National Library of Scotland has the following in it's collections: Address given by the Hon. Lord St. Vigeans at the annual dinner of the Glasgow Sir Walter Scott Club on 20th February, 1931.

The Border Magazine also quotes "Professor Veitch as he lectured on "Sir Walter Scott" in St Andrew's Hall, Glasgow, shortly after the institution of the Glasgow Sir Walter Scott Club. 


South Haven Scott Club

There was also another Scott Club. This time founded on 22nd August 1883 in Michigan. It began as a women's literary and social group, which adopted the name of Scott Club in 1888 after studying the writings of Sir Walter Scott. Early meetings were held in private homes and church parlors. When the organisation grew to include more than one hundred women who were active in the South Haven community, the need for a larger meeting place became apparent. In 1891 the Scott Club joined with two other literary groups, whose members were primarily men, to purchase a site for a meeting hall that would accommodate all three organisations: the Literary and Library Association, the Antiquarian Society and the Scott Club. Donations of money, materials and labor from members and the South Haven community led to the construction of a clubhouse in the Queen Anne style, designed and built by local architect and builder, John Cornelius Randall. By 1893 the picturesque building with a Moorish dome was hosting meetings. At the turn of the century the two men's groups disbanded and sold their shares of ownership to the women's Scott Club, which has continued to occupy and maintain the building for more than 100 years, through the financial contributions and efforts of its members. Designated a Michigan Historic Site in 1981, the Scott Club celebrated its centennial in 1983. 


The Sir Walter Scott Society of University of Toronto

The club was formed in 1943, during the dark days of World War Two. Twenty gentlemen and their ladies, drawn from “Town and Gown”, were founding members. The original founding member was Professor Ernest Dale, born in Edinburgh in 1888. He graduated with first class honours in literature from Oxford in 1910 and came to Canada in 1912. He became a member of the Toronto Arts and Letters Club, the Dickens Fellowship and the Shakespeare Society. He was a friend of a Mr. Craick, John Cowan and Dr. Alexander Macmillan, father of Sir Ernest Macmillan. Together they drafted the outline of a club, which was to be devoted to the study of the works of “The Wizard of the North”. It will not be long before the Sir Walter Scott Society celebrates its sixty-fifth anniversary, quite an accomplishment for a gathering of literati within today’s world, which has largely turned away from 19th century literature. Over the years, many papers have been presented. Together, they probably cover everything Sir Walter ever wrote. There have also been papers on his contemporaries, and on a wide range of military, social and political aspects of Scottish history relating to his works and times. We have had many interesting and delightful characters as members over the years. Notable among them are: Sir Ernest MacMillan’s daughter, Jean, an ardent member for many years until her death; the late Professor Douglas Thompson, a graduate of Glasgow University, who taught classics at the University of Toronto and whose magnum opus was a massive work on Catullus; the late Professor Alan Coman, a graduate of Edinburgh University, who was a Shakespearian scholar at the University of Toronto; Professor David Waterhouse, a graduate of Cambridge University and a specialist in oriental art and languages, who still teaches in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto; Dr. Donald Priestman, a Professor Emeritus at Ryerson University, whose speciality is William Wordsworth; and, Mrs. Aurea Williams, a direct descendant of Sir Walter, and a member in the 1970’s. One of the most multi-talented members and a close friend for thirty years was Professor Ronald Morton Smith, who died in 1966. My life in Toronto has been the richer for just having known him. He was a graduate of St. Andrews and Oxford and taught at Cambridge. He was a professor in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto and, to me, he exemplified the true ethos of the Scott Society. A delightful eccentric, he always wore the kilt, even in winter. His nickname at the University was “Sanskrit Smith”. He had such a breadth and depth of learning that he was recruited for work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War to crack the Japanese naval codes. He also wrote and published excellent children’s poetry. During his many years as President of the Society, he was a gentle, guiding light, and is sadly missed by his fellow members. His wife Helen recently retired from the club after many years serving as Secretary Treasurer and host to the Society. Over the years there have been Presidents from varied walks of life: those with academic backgrounds, clergymen, and those from the world of business, who have some academic involvement, such as John Cowan, Frank Watson and myself. The Society meets in the spring and in the fall for the presentation of papers, in lecture rooms at the University of Toronto.  [Harry Stewart Ferguson, President of the Sir Walter Scott Society of the University of Toronto.From EUCT News January 2010]