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Edinburgh University buys Hamish Henderson archive

A vast archive of material belonging to Hamish Henderson has been acquired by Edinburgh University. Picture: Ian Rutherford

A vast archive of material belonging to Hamish Henderson has been acquired by Edinburgh University. Picture: Ian Rutherford


  • by BRIAN FERGUSON
 

A VAST personal archive belonging to the late poet, songwriter, activist and folklorist Hamish Henderson has been acquired by Edinburgh University.

Letters, manuscripts, notebooks and unfinished works kept by Henderson, who died aged 82 in 2002, have been sold to the university by his family.

His papers include first-hand accounts of events unfolding in 1930s Germany, when he helped to smuggle Jews out of the country, serving in the Second World War and his campaigning on behalf of Nelson Mandela during apartheid-era South Africa.

Blairgowrie-born Henderson, renowned as the “father of the Scottish folk revival,” was the co-founder of the university’s School of Scottish Studies.

The archive - which will be made available to researchers from September of this year - includes letters to and from major cultural figures such as American folk singer Pete Seeger, poet Norman MacCaig, and the late Scottish makar Edwin Morgan. It featured more than 10,000 letters, as well as 136 notebooks and diaries.

The university said the material reflected his many interests - as a “folksong collector, a cultural historian, a Scottish nationalist, and an international democratic socialist.”

Dr. John Scally, director of the university’s library and university collections said: “The Hamish Henderson archive is a fine research asset and connects very strongly with a number of other collections already held by the Library.

“It will enhance our existing strengths and help promote further development and funding of our holdings relating to Scottish studies.”

SEE ALSO

Obituary: Dr Hamish Henderson

 

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