Your chance to see the song book of Agnes Burns

As you prepare to stab your haggis and toast Robert Burns tonight, you might like to know that our latest (possibly Burns related!) acquisition will be on display this Friday at the Burns Night at the Museum event.

Ownership inscription of Agnes Burns

Ownership inscription of Agnes Burns

Last week we were delighted to welcome University of Glasgow alumnus George Walker to Special Collections where he generously presented a volume of 18th century songs to the University’s Centre for Robert Burns Studies in memory of his wife, Margaret.

George Walker

George Walker

The book came from Sally Evans, a bookseller in Callander, who originally purchased the work at a lane sale or ‘roup’ in Haddington some years ago. The book bears the ownership inscription of Agnes Burns, dated 1801 – and it is conjectured that this may be the poet’s sister, who moved to East Lothian in 1800.

Agnes seesm to have a particular interest in the song 'O bonny lass will ye lye in a barrack'

Agnes seems to have a particular interest in the song ‘O bonny lass will ye lye in a barrack’

There are some other intriguing annotations in the volume (including some financial figures – could these even relate to Burn’s work as an exciseman?). More investigation is required, and you can hear all about the importance of the volume’s contents and its research potential in an interview with Professor Kirsteen McCue.


If you are lucky enough to have secured a ticket for the Night at the Museum on Friday, you will have the chance to see this book along with some of our other Burns related treasures. But if you have not booked a place, despair not – the book will be available in our Special Collections reading room on level 12 of the library from next week: just come along and ask for Sp Coll Farmer Add. f34.


Categories: Archives and Special Collections, Library

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