Archive of Contributions

Shelves of books

This material, has been submitted to the Federation by respected Burnsians over time. We hope Members & Visitors will use these articles as a catalyst for comment, discussion & friendly debate on our facebook page or within the Discussion Forum. FACEBOOK LINK

Contributions from members and respected visitors, help us build a significant resource of material for others to refer to, learn from and enjoy. To this end, we'd be delighted to receive articles from any interested parties, whether experts in the field or keen amateurs. Contact Admin

July RBWF Talk on Burns Statues Across the World by Ron Ballantyne

July RBWF Talk on The Robin and the Wren by Marc Sherland

April 15th  RBWF Talk on Bonny Jean Armour by Lesley Richardson with music by Pauline Vallance.

2021 RBWF Talk on The Loves of Robert Burns Delivered by Angus Middleton :

2020 RBWF St Andrew's Lecture - delivered by Prof Patrick Scott. Topic was :

The Hunt for Burns Manuscripts: Then and Now, Here and There
Burnsians are often surprised to learn that there are Burns manuscripts in South Carolina. While the major collections are still in Scotland, the G. Ross Roy Collection is just part of a much bigger story about how Burns’s manuscripts have been dispersed, on both sides of the Atlantic.  Patrick Scott will discuss some of the collectors who have competed for them, how they have moved around over the past two centuries,  and how Burns researchers are tracking them down, even during lockdown for libraries. The talk takes examples from manuscripts in the Roy Collection and elsewhere, and reports on some recent discoveries and rediscoveries.

Video of the lecture


In October 2020 the RBWF were involved with Tamfest a festival built around Tam o' Shanter. As part of that event the following was offered :

Lecturing Tam on the ABCs

Monday 5th October - A. “In and Out of Tam o’ Shanter” Delivered by Jim Thomson, who is a past president of the Federation - based on his book of the same name. Video of the event :

Wednesday 7th October - B. “Tam o’ Shanter; A Tale of its First Publication” Delivered by Bill Dawson, who is a past president of the Federation - What drove Burns to compose the poem and when was the actual first date of publication :

Friday 9th October -  C. “Supernatural Burns” Delivered by Marc Sherland, President of the Federation - Why was Robert Burns so obsessed with the spooky and the supra-natural? Video of the Lecture

3. Tam the Glorious - Saturday 10th October - Competition video - An international  competition for the best ‘Glorious Tam’ recitation through use of Zoom. judged by RBWF Senior Vice President, Henry Cairney; Polly Beck, Speech & Drama Specialist; Jackie Higgins, Senior Vice President of Dumfries Ladies Burns Club.

Contestants : David Brown, Ron Pratt, Simon Lamb, Andy Harrower, Jim Osborne

The winner in 1st place was Andy Harrower and in 2nd place David Brown. Congratulations to every participant.  Video of the event :

Please note below some other resources which have been made available to Burnsians.

Fakers and forgers: counterfeiting Robert Burns - Produced by the team behind Editing Robert Burns for the 21st Century, 'Fakers and forgers: counterfeiting Robert Burns'. This is the first of four documentaries they will be producing. The next one will explore work editing Burns's correspondence, which will be released in January 2022. If you were unable to make the event, or even if you did and would like to watch the documentary again, it is now freely available on our YouTube channel and can be accessed at

Trades House Library - Recently I became aware of a tremendous resource at the Library in the Trades House of Glasgow, managed by their Archivist, Craig Bryce.  Trades House Digital Library: He delved into this library to come up with the following Burns related online books :

A Dictionary of Lowland Scotch by Charles McKay LL.D, published in 1888 has been included in this section.

The following Books on Burns can be downloaded for free for private use :

Should Christians Celebrate Burns Birthday?  by Rev. Fergus Ferguson, 1869

A Primer of Burns  by William A. Craigie, 1896

The Bibliography of Robert Burns ~ With Biographical and Bibliographical Notes, and Sketches Published 1881

The Burns Scrap Book: Or Odd Moments with the Lovers of Scotia's Darling Poet by John D. Ross, Published 1893

Robert Burns, Scotia's immortal bard : his life and labours  by Rev. Robert Grant (1894)

The land of Robt. Burns, and other pen & ink portraits J Campbell, Published 1884

The Complete Poetical Works Of Robert Burns

The National Burns Vol 1 by Rev George Gilfillan

Annual Burns Chronicle and Directory  by the Burns Federation, Kilmarnock (1919)

The World's Memorials of Robert Burns by Edward Goodwillie (1919)

The Memory of Burns. Brief Addresses Commemorating the Genius of Scotland's Illustrious Bard  by John D. Ross LL.D.

Robert Burns ~ a birthday address on the life and character of the plowman bard  by Samuel Phelps Leland (1886)

A pilgrimage to the land of Burns; containing anecdotes of the bard, and of the characters he immortalized, with numerous pieces of poetry, original and collected  (1822)

Robert Burns and the Medical Profession by William Findlay M.D. (1898)

The Burns Calendar ~ A Manual of Burnsiana  Published 1874

Robert Burns and Dumfries ~ 1796-1896 by Philip Sulley, Published 1896

Robert Burns, how to know him by William Allan Neilson, Published 1917

George Thomson ~ the friend of Burns ~ his life and correspondence by J. Cuthbert Hadden, Published 1898

Memorial Catalogue of the Burns Exhibition: held in the Galleries of the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts from 15th July till 31st October, 1896  Published: 1896

Robert Burns as a Volunteer: some fresh facts which further help to confound the poet's critics  by William Will, Published 1919

The Roseberry Burns Club of Glasgow by James Angus, Published 1906

Henley and Burns by John D. Ross LL.D., Published 1901

Early Critical Reviews on Robert Burns by John D Ross LL.D., Published 1900

The Works of Robert Burns with an account of his life and criticism on his writings Volume 1 of 4 by James Currie M.D., Published 1819

Robert Burns in Stirlingshire by William Harvey, Published 1899

St. Louis nights wi' Burns by Walter B. Stevens, Published 1913

Gutenberg Resources on Burns

This material is ideal for researching Burns' work. For example if you are searching for references to particular person or thing just click the appropriate link then use your browser's search function to search for the word or phrase you are seeking. In Internet Explorer this can be done from the top menu by selecting "Edit" then "Find on this page". 

The Complete Works of Robert Burns: published in 1841, this book contains his Poems, Songs, and Correspondence. With a New Life of the Poet, and Notices, Critical and Biographical by Allan Cunningham. Includes all Burns' letters.

The Letters of Robert Burns, by Robert Burns #3 in their series by Robert Burns.

Poems and Songs of Robert Burns #1 in their series by Robert Burns.

Robert Burns in Google Books

Google search engine has an amazing book repository where thousands of old books have been digitised. This a tremendous free resource for students of Robert Burns.

Bear in mind that the pages of these books have actually been photographed rather than the text being transcribed so they do take some time to load if you don't have a good internet connection. Enjoy!

The Complete Works Of Robert Burns (1855)

Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect (1824)

The Works of Robert Burns: With an Account of His Life, and a Criticism of his Writings (The James Currie book from 1835)

Reliques of Robert Burns: Consisting Chiefly of Original Letters, Poems and Critical Observations(The R. H. Cromek book from 1809)

The Works of Robert Burns: With His Life (Allan Cunningham 1834)

Robert Burns: As a Poet, and as a Man (Samuel Tyler 1848)

The Works of Robert Burns: Containing His Life (By John Lockhart 1849)

The Correspondence Between Burns and Clarinda: With a Memoir of Mrs. McLehose (1843 Arranged and edited by her grandson W.C. McLehose)

Robert Burns: A Memoir (1858 Rev. James White)

Life of Robert Burns (1859 Thomas Carlyle)

The Centennial Birth-day of Robert Burns (1860 As Celebrated by the Burns Club of the City of New York)

A Letter to a Friend of Robert Burns (1816 William Wordsworth)

Celebration of the Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Robert Burns (1859 The Burns Club of Boston USA)

The Scottish Minstrel: Being a Complete Collection of Burns' Songs (1818)

A Critique on the Poems of Robert Burns (1812 George Gleig)