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Robert Burns Collection

PhotographIn 1961, Leslie P. Gray donated a large collection of the works of Robert Burns to Special Collections on behalf of his parents, the late Harry Gray and Lelah B. Gray. The collection was purchased from Professor G. Ross Roy of the University of Montreal, who curated an exhibit of 113 of the books in the Noble L. Getchell Library during its grand opening. Professor Roy wrote an annotated guide to the exhibit.

The Robert Burns Collection , a legacy collection, contains over 400 books. According to former University Librarian David W. Heron, in his preface to the exhibit guide, the collection (at that time) represented "... as good resources for the critical study of Burns and his works as are available in any library in the United States." The collection includes rare editions of important works, such as the Edinburgh edition of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect," the "Skinking edition," published in 1787.

Robert Burns was a superstar in his own time and a cult figure in later times. His legend is kept alive through "Burns Suppers" held around the world on or around his birthday, January 25th. His short but interesting life (1759-1796) has inspired a number of biographical works that are represented in both Special Collections and the Knowledge Center's circulating collection.

The Eighteenth Century Collection Online database provides the full-text of 51 of Burns' writings. These include various editions of Burns' publications. The database allows users to retrieve all of Burns' writings and then conduct keywod searches within them to pinpoint usage of specific words.

Thomas MeyersDr. Thomas Meyers, a local Burns enthusiast, models Scottish attire for the 2008 calendar "Men in Kilts" in a photo shoot in the Burns collection stacks in Special Collections. Photograph by David Howe.

Cover of Robert Burns bookRobert Burns Rare Print Collection, edited by Seymour Eaton. Philadelphia: R. G. Kennedy & Co., [1900]: Special Collections PR 4331 .E3 1900

Online Resources

Eighteenth Century Collection Online (Parts I and II) Songs of Robert Burns (lyrics and sheet music)
The Burns Encyclopedia  (Burns Country) Robert Burns: A Glossary of Scottish Terms and Index of First Lines of Poems (William Michaelian)
Robert Burns (National Library of Scotland) "To a Mouse" (presented by David Sibbald via YouTube)
Poems and Songs of Robert Burns (Project Gutenberg) Robert Burns: The People's Poet (BBC, YouTube; Part 1)
A Tribute to Robert Burns by Archibald Primrose in 1896 (Wikisource) The Romantic Age (The Letters of Robert Burns) - via the Past Masters Database, for UNR-affiliated users, only
Robert Burns Quotes (World of Quotes) "A Man's A Man For A' That" (YouTube documentary)
The Works of Robert Burns (ElectricScotland) Robert Burns Association of North America
The Letters of Robert Burns (Project Gutenberg) Robert Burns World Federation
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect. 1788 reprint (Selected Americana from Sabin's Dictionary) Nevada Society of Scottish Clans

Highlights of Special Collections' Robert Burns Collection

Annual Burns Chronicle and Club Directory (Burns Federation) 1st series, Vols. 1-34 PR 4329 .A6 (1892-1925)
Burns Chronicle and Club Directory (Burns Federation) 2nd series, Vols. 1-25 PR 4329 .A6 (1926-1950)
Burns Holograph Manuscripts in the Kilmarnock Monument Museum Kilmarnock: D. Brown, 1889 PR 4336 .S6
Memorials of Robert Burns ... London: Sampson Low, et al, 1876 PR 4333 .A45 1896
Reliques of Robert Burns London: J. M'Creery, 1808 PR 4303 .C76 1808
Some account of the Glenriddell mss. of Burns's poems Liverpool: Walmsley, 1874 PR 4336 .B7 1874
The Songs of Burns, with symphonies and accompaniements ... London: Bayley & Ferguson, 1896 PR 4324 .L447 1896
Tam O'Shanter [Edinburgh?]: Royal Assoc. for the Promotion of the Fine Arts in Scotland, 1855 PR 4314 .A1 1855
The Works of Robert Burns (4 vols.) London: T. Cadell, 1801, 2nd. ed. PR 4301 .C8 1801

Other Robert Burns Resources in the Knowledge Center

Research Resources Microfilm - KC Level 2       (From The Eighteenth Century microfilm set, S0269, unless otherwise indicated.)

Address to the people of Scotland Glasgow: Brash & Reid, [1797] Reel 894, no. 27
An address to the Deil. With the answer. By John Lauderdale [Edinburgh?]: 1795 Reel 3734, no. 12
Address to the people of Scotland, respecting Francis Grose [Glasgow?, 1795?] Reel 4684, no. 7
Alloway kirk; or Tam o'Shanter. A tale [Glasgow: Brash and Reid, 1796] Reel 8861, no. 9
Aloway kirk; or, Tam o'Shanter. A tale [Glasgow?, 1796?] Reel 4684, no. 8
The Ayrshire garland. An excellent new song [Dumfries?, 1789?] Reel 5095, no. 2
Domestic happiness exhibited in John Anderson, my Joe Glasgow: Brash & Reid, [1796] Reel 3251, no. 6
Holy Willie's prayer, letter to John Goudie, Kilmarnock, and six favourite songs, viz. Duncan Gray, The lass that made the bed to me, A man's a man for a' that, Of a' the airt's the win' can blaw, Now westlin winds, I gaed a waefu' gate yestreen Glasgow: Stewart & Meikle, [1799] Reel 3411, no. 15
An honest man the best o' men, a favourite new song Glasgow: Brash & Reid, [1797] Reel 894, no. 29
The kirk's alarm: a satire; A letter to a taylor, The deil's awa' wi' the exciseman, and An unco mournfu' tale Glasgow: Stewart & Meikle, [1799] Reel 4598, no. 9
O wat ye wha's in yon town? And open the door to me, oh! Two favourite songs Glasgow: Brash & Reid, [1797] Reel 899, no. 9
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect Dublin: William Gilbert, 1789 Reel 4599, no. 7
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect Dublin: William Gilbert, 1790 Reel 269, no. 17
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect Dublin: William Gilbert, 1787 Reel 1034, no. 27
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect London: Strahan, Cadell & Creech, 1787; 3rd ed. Reel 3046, no. 1
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect Edinburgh: Robert Burns, sold by Creech, 1787 Reel 8702, no. 2
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect Edinburgh: Robert Burns, sold by Creech; 1787 Reel 4787, no. 6
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect Kilmarnock: John Wilson, 1786 Reel 4787, no. 5
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect Philadelphia: Stewart and Hyde, 1788 Reel 4795, no. 9
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect New -York: J. And A. M'Lean, [1788] Reel 282, no. 11
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect. In two volumes Edinburgh: Adam Neill and Co., 1800 Reel 2378, no. 1
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect. In two volumes Belfast: William Magee, 1793 Reel 4828, no. 3
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect. In two volumes Edinburgh: T. Cadell, 1794 (a new edition, enlrgd) Reel 4688, no. 2
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect. In two volumes Edinburgh: T. Cadell, 1798 Reel 4785, no. 3
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect. In two volumes Edinburgh: T. Cadell, 1797 Reel 8358, no. 3
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect. In two volumes Edinburgh: T. Cadell, 1793 Reel 4756, no. 7
Sylvander and Clarinda; the love letters of Robert Burns and Agnes M'Lehose New York: G. H. Doran Co., [1917] History of Women microfilm set C24: Reel 883, no. 7268
Two original poems: The echo of friars-carse hermitage; Avon's stream: a dirge Glasgow: Brash & Reid, [1797] Reel 894, no. 28