Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: [William C. Angus] to Walt Whitman, 27 January 1891

Date: January 27, 1891

Whitman Archive ID: loc.04901

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Cristin Noonan, Amanda J. Axley, Marie Ernster, and Stephanie Blalock

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Walt Whitman Esq.
New Jersey
159, Queen Street, Glasgow.
27 Jany 1891.

Dear Sir, re Proposed Exhibition of the Memorials of Robert Burns,1 the Scottish Poet.

It is proposed to hold a Burnsiana Exhibition in Glasgow where a Meeting of those favourable to the proposal will be convened during next month. The promoters have in view a Loan Exhibition embracing Mss. of the Poet, the best editions of his works, painted & engraved portraits of the Poet, as well as some of his friends and biographers, painted and engraved illustration of his works and of the scenes associated with his name; also the best books, magazines of early date &c that in any direct way relate to Burns. We hope also to gather some items that formed part of the personal belongings of Burns & his family.

Such an Exhibition in Glasgow—the capital of the West of Scotland—where Burnsiana property is largely held will be most appropriate in itself, and could not fail to excercise a healthy influence on all classes of the community.

In Glasgow the Exhibition would be largely2

William C. Angus (1830–1899) was a fine art dealer and a member of the Glasgow art-dealer firm of Craibe, Angus, and son. He was a collector of works by Robert Burns (1759–1796), and he was an organizer of the Burns Exhibition that took place in 1896, one hundred years after Burns’s death.


1. Robert Burns (1759–1796) was widely regarded as Scotland's national poet. An early Romantic poet who wrote in both Scots and English (often though not exclusively inflected by Scottish dialect), Burns is perhaps best known for his poems "Auld Lang Syne," "Tam o' Shanter" and "To a Mouse" (from which the title of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is derived). Of Burns, Whitman wrote in November Boughs: "Though so much is to be said in the way of fault-finding, drawing black marks, and doubtless severe literary criticism . . . after full retrospect of his works and life, the aforesaid 'odd-kind chiel' remains to my heart and brain as almost the tenderest, manliest, and (even if contradictory) dearest flesh-and-blood figure in all the streams and clusters of by-gone poets." For Whitman's full opinion of Burns as it appeared in November Boughs, see "Robert Burns as Poet and Person," November Boughs (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1888), 57–64. [back]

2. The remainder of this letter has not been located. [back]


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