Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)DA61
TitlePapers of Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Dunlop Gibson
Extent3 volumes
DescriptionScrapbooks of press cuttings collected by Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Dunlop Gibson relating to their travels, publications, and in particular, ASL's discovery in St Catherine's Monastery, Sinai, of a text of the Syriac Gospels, in 1892.
ArrangementArranged chronologically according to the earliest item in each scrapbook.
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered readers.
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection is available on the online archive catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue and to view the full catalogue. A paper copy of this catalogue is also available for consultation at Special Collections.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryAgnes Smith Lewis was born in 1843, the elder twin daughter of John Smith of Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland. She was educated at Irvine Academy until the age of 12, then at private schools (Birkenhead and London) till the age of 18, and afterwards by private tuition. From an early age, she and her sister demonstrated an extraordinary talent for languages which, with their strong Presbyterian beliefs, were to characterise the rest of their lives. The twins' father died in 1866, leaving them independently wealthy. This wealth financed their studies of languages (including Syriac, Arabic, Greek, and Hebrew) and their travels in the Middle East. Their interest in early Biblical manuscripts took them on many journeys to the Monastery of St Catherine in Sinai, where, in 1892, they discovered the Codex Sinaiticus, a text of the Gospels in Syriac, which probably dates from the late fourth century. Agnes Smith Lewis published many scholarly and popular works relating to this and other discoveries, as well as a number of novels. She visited St Catherine's several times and produced a catalogue of many of the manuscripts in the library. Agnes Smith Lewis was awarded honorary degrees from the Universities of Halle, St Andrews, Heidelberg, and Dublin. She and her sister endowed Westminster College, Cambridge, a training college for Presbyterian ministers. She married the Rev. Samuel Savage Lewis in 1887 - he died in 1891.
Custodial HistoryThe scrapbooks were acquired in 1927 by G. A. B. Barnard, who gave them to George Cadbury for deposit in the Rendel Harris Library at the Selly Oak Colleges. The Library was transferred to the Orchard Learning Resources Centre which was opened in 1997 following the merger of the Selly Oak Colleges Library and the Westhill College Library. In 2000, the custodianship of all archive collections held at the Orchard Learning Resources Centre was transferred to the University of Birmingham
Related MaterialCadbury Research Library: Special Collections Department has letters from Agnes Smith Lewis to James Rendel Harris in the papers of James Rendel Harris and Helen Balkwill Harris (DA21).
Associated MaterialsWestminster and Cheshunt College (GB 0278), letters from Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Dunlop Gibson.


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