John Gribbel

John Gribbel

John Gribbel, donor of the Glenriddell Manuscripts.


American industrialist John Gribbel of Philadelphia made it possible for Robert Burns's Glenriddell Manuscripts to return to Scotland form the USA.

Gribbel was a Burns enthusiast who had made a fortune from supplying gas and electricity to America's fast growing cities and industries.

He already owned some of Burns's papers, including Robert Riddell's copy of 'The Scots Musical Museum', to which Burns contributed so much.

Gribbel was well aware of the importance of the Glenriddell Manuscripts to the Scottish nation.

To house the two volumes he commissioned a fine box, which was clearly gilt stamped to mark his intention that the manuscripts were, from then on, to be the property of the people of Scotland in perpetuity.

The deed of trust he had drawn up states the terms by which he returned the volumes to Scotland. The manuscripts were to be held for five years alternately by the Corporations of Edinburgh and Glasgow 'for the use benefit and enjoyment of the Scottish nation' until the foundation of a national library.


The box, the deed of trust and other related items were on show in the Robert Burns's Glenriddell Manuscripts display at the National Library of Scotland from 23 January to 30 March 2014.


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