Robert Burns Collection

Few literary figures are held in such high regard in Dunedin as Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns (1759 – 1796). His statue holds pride of place in the centre of the city.

One of Dunedin’s earliest settlers and religious leaders, the Rev. Dr Thomas Burns (1796 – 1871), was nephew to the poet.

The Dunedin Burns Club presented Dunedin Public Libraries with the majority of the Burns material, which currently numbers more than 300 items.

Notable works include:

  • The anthology A Selection of Original Scottish Airs (1793 – 1818), once owned by Gilbert Burns, brother of the poet and father of Rev. Thomas Burns.
  • The first Edinburgh edition of Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1787).
  • A first edition of A Manual of Religious Belief (1875) written by Robert’s father William Burns.
  • A manuscript of Burns’ poem To Mrs Kemble in honour of the 1794 performance by actress Elizabeth Kemble in Inkle and Yarico. It is the only manuscript in the poet’s hand held by the Library.

Robert Burns Collection