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Picture of James Thin

James Thin

Bookseller and hymnologist

The founder of the family firm of James Thin, Booksellers which has been familiar to generations of University of Edinburgh students and staff was apprenticed to James McIntosh, bookseller at 5 North College Street from 1836 to 1841. He remained with McIntosh until 1848, when he opened his own shop at 14 Infirmary Street, taking over the lease and stock of a previous bookseller. The business grew and expanded, and brought James Thin the friendship of some of the distinguished men of letters of the day, including Lord Macaulay, Thomas De Quincey, Professor John Wilson ('Christopher North'), Thomas Carlyle and Robert Louis Stevenson. The firm is still one of Scotland's leading booksellers.

Hymnology was one of James Thin's lifelong passions. After his death his trustees presented his collection of over 2,500 hymn books to New College Library. It now numbers over 7,000 items, and its separate catalogue is available for consultation on request.

Portrait by kind permission of James Thin, Booksellers

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