Sale of the Glenriddell Manuscripts

Newspaper cutting about sale of Burns volumes

'Edinburgh Evening Dispatch', 31 July 1913.


By 1913, the two volumes of Robert Burns's Glenriddell Manuscripts were being held by the Liverpool Athaeneum.

To raise funds, the organisation decided to sell the manuscripts through the auctioneers Messrs Sotheby and Co for £5,000.

When this information became public there was an outcry in the Scottish press, and efforts were made to prevent the sale.

On July 31, the 'Edinburgh Evening Dispatch' reported on a meeting of Scottish Burns Clubs in Glasgow, convened in protest at the proposed disposal. The president of the Burns Club Federation was quoted as urging the clubs: 'Make the protest as strong as you like'.

Questions arose about the Liverpool Athenaeum's right to sell the manuscripts and about whether Burns's descendants had a claim to ownership. The threat of the manuscripts being lost to the nation by export abroad was taken very seriously.


This item featured 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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