Biography of Thomas Campbell
Bust of Thomas Campbell
Thomas Campbell (1777-1884) was a poet who served as the University's Rector from 1826 to 1829.
The son of a Glasgow tobacco merchant, Campbell was brought up in the city's High Street and studied at the University from 1791 to 1795. His first volume of poetry was published in 1799 to critical acclaim and he became one of Britain's most popular poets. He was also a biographer, travel writer and magazine editor, and a vociferous champion of the struggle for Polish independence.
Campbell was elected Rector in 1826 and was re-elected in the following two years. He served his third term despite the opposition of the University authorities: they considered his third election to be illegal, after he lost the original vote to Sir Walter Scott but won a second poll after Sir Walter declined to accept the post.
The Campbell Club was established by a group of students in Thomas Campbell's honour. He is buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
The Special Collections department holds a selection of Thomas Campbell’s personal papers and material relating to his life and works. The collection includes transcripts of Campbell’s poems, personal letters documents relating to his time as Rector at the University, and books from his personal library.