The Piobaireachd Society did not only pick up interest in Scotland or even Britain, they also attracted admiration from around the world.
Within the correspondence files, we found a letter, dated 1903, from a Walter Sinclair in St Michigan, asking to be sent a copy of some tunes so that his friend, Albert Johnstone, could teach him them on the pipes. He complains that none of the leading pipers in America want to show him anything. (DC80/359)
There is another letter from North America, this time from an Alexander Fraser, editor of ‘The Scottish Canadian’, who requests a copy of the Society rules. He follows the work of the society with great interest and promises that he does what he can for the patriotic cause “but we are far frae the land…”. (DC80/359)
The piobaireachd cause was also remembered on the opposite side of the globe, in Australia, with the 1914 subscription from the Highland Society of Australia found in the correspondence files. We also found a letter from the Australian Highland Society saying that they have about 1200 members and that they publish a monthly, patriotic magazine. (DC80/372) The love for the highlands and piobaireachd playing was clearly well and truly alive in North America and Australasia!
The society was also followed by someone in perhaps an even more exotic location in 1911, with a letter from a young Egyptian gentleman, A. A. Maleed. He tells the society that he has been employed by the Agricultural bank of Egypt for six years, has played the pipes for the last nine years and would like to be examined for a pipe music certificate. (DC80/368)
The Piobaireachd Society, therefore, had a wide reach and appealed to the international community as much as the British.
In keeping with the global theme the University of Glasgow Archive Services are currently working on an International Student project that celebrates important students from around the world.
Visit again for the next instalment in the Piobaireachd Society blog!
Categories: Archive Services (GUAS)