This page was last updated on 11 August 2021

Click here to 
Print this page

Biography finder





























Index of first names

David Douglas









This page is a Stub - you can help improve it


David Douglas FRSE FSA (1823 – 1916) was a Scottish publisher in the 19th century. He was publisher of works by authors including John Stuart Blackie and Dr John Brown. In later life he formed half of the successful Edinburgh publishing business Edmonston & Douglas. The latter were responsible for a highly popular set of animal prints aimed at children. His final partnership was called Douglas & Foulis.

Douglas was born in Stranraer in south-west Scotland the son of William Douglas(1) and Sophia Black, and attended school in Whithorn.

Douglas went to Edinburgh, probably around 1837, as a printer's apprentice. He soon after joined the staff of William Blackwood & Sons. Gaining confidence and skill he set up his own printworks. In 1847 he formed a partnership to create Edmonston and Douglas, based at 87 Princes Street, which lasted 30 years. On the death of his partner Alexander Edmonston in 1877 he formed a new company with Thomas Foulis, named Douglas & Foulis, which lasted until his death. Douglas & Foulis appear to have operated a popular circulating library(2) in the early 20th century, which, for a cost of one guinea per year, a member could borrow one book per month, and for ten guineas per year 30 books per month could be borrowed.

Douglas was for many years Editor of the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. In 1866 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh his proposer being Alexander Campbell Fraser. From 1891 to 1909 he conducted a prolonged correspondence with William Winter in New York City.

In later life his business was at 10 Castle Street and his house at 22 Drummond Place, both in Edinburgh.[6] In these final years he moved from his earlier more intellectual and historical focus to the republishing of American novels in Britain as cheap editions.

Douglas died of pneumonia in Edinburgh on 4 April 1916.

Following his death most ongoing work was absorbed by Thomas Noble Foulis (Foulis’ son) who had set up his own business T. N. Foulis in 1903. The firm later evolved into Hunter & Foulis.

He was married to Sarah Burns Millidge.

His daughter, Sarah Wyse Douglas (d.1886), married the oceanographer, Sir William Abbott Herdman.


DOUGLAS, DAVID. ?-04/04/1916.  Male.
Place of Birth: Stranraer, Wigtownshire.
Place of Death: Edinburgh.
Profession: Publisher.
Appointments Held: Staff, Messrs Blackwood, Publishers, Edinburgh; 1847-77 Edmonston & Douglas, Publishers;
1877-1916, Douglas & Foulis, Publishers.
Schools and Tutors: Whithorn School, Wigtownshire.
Other Family: father-in-law of William Abbott Herdman, FRSE 1858-1924.
References: Proc Roy Soc Edinb, 37, 1916-17, 14; Who Was Who 2.
Memberships: Philosophical Institution of Edinburgh.
Date of Election: 15/01/1866.
Proposers: Alexander Campbell Fraser (Billet 2/1/1866).
Notes: Born 1823. Editor of "Proceedings of The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.".
Fellow Type: OF.

Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh


  William Douglas was born circa 1786 and died 39th April 1831 in Stranraer, Wigtownshire, Scotland

2.  My grandmother was a subscriber. I well remember as each box arrived, the previous set of books was packed up and returned in their cardboard box.


Any contributions will be gratefully accepted



Errors and Omissions

The Forum

What's new?

We are looking for your help to improve the accuracy of The Douglas Archives.

If you spot errors, or omissions, then please do let us know


Many articles are stubs which would benefit from re-writing. Can you help?


You are not authorized to add this page or any images from this page to (or its subsidiaries) or other fee-paying sites without our express permission and then, if given, only by including our copyright and a URL link to the web site.


If you have met a brick wall with your research, then posting a notice in the Douglas Archives Forum may be the answer. Or, it may help you find the answer!

You may also be able to help others answer their queries.

Visit the Douglas Archives Forum.


2 Minute Survey

To provide feedback on the website, please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey.


We try to keep everyone up to date with new entries, via our What's New section on the home page.

We also use the Community Network to keep researchers abreast of developments in the Douglas Archives.

Help with costs

Maintaining the three sections of the site has its costs.  Any contribution the defray them is very welcome



If you would like to receive a very occasional newsletter - Sign up!



Back to top


The content of this website is a collection of materials gathered from a variety of sources, some of it unedited.

The webmaster does not intend to claim authorship, but gives credit to the originators for their work.

As work progresses, some of the content may be re-written and presented in a unique format, to which we would then be able to claim ownership.

Discussion and contributions from those more knowledgeable is welcome.

Contact Us

Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024