Item MS 103/3/3 - Illustrations of Scottish Flora, chiefly of Forfarshire and Fifeshire'

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Illustrations of Scottish Flora, chiefly of Forfarshire and Fifeshire'

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MS 103/3/3

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  • 1912-1913 (Creation)

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1 book

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Commonplace book: written, compiled and illustrated by David Robert Robertson, Dundee, 1912-1913, 1914. [453pp] [15] Dedicatory bookplate in pen and ink by the author: "To Helen [his daughter] and Naismith [possibly his son-in-law] from D.R. Robertson 1936", [perhaps on their marriage]. David Robert Robertson (1870-1949) was a Dundee jute merchant, botanist, antiquarian and mountaineer. He was a keen churchman with a great knowledge of the Highlands and a talent for sketching. While his 'Commonplace Book' is entitled Illustrations of Scottish Flora chiefly of Forfarshire and Fifeshire, it comprehends a great deal more, as well as some material into 1914. There is internal evidence [30pp] that he may have planned publication at least in part, particularly of some illustrations included in it. The book consists mainly of Robertson's transcripts of poems, articles, and miscellaneous writings, watercolours of local flora and pen and ink drawings of local places of natural, historic and other interest mainly in the Dundee area reaching back towards the Sidlaws and Glamis but also extending south across the Tay, for example to Balmerino, Tentsmuir and Strathmiglo. The natural history subjects treated, articles and illustrations, include bees, birds, butterflies, flowers, insects of other varieties, mice, snowfalls and shipwrecks. There are five sizeable researched articles with related sketches and other materials on the following Scottish authors and naturalists: - William A. Baillie, George Don, William Gardiner, Thomas Ormond and William Robertson. In addition, Robertson wrote to several naturalists, writers and poets who sent contributions especially relating to nature, sometimes in exchange for his sketches. The principal other contributors and subjects of study include Alexander Anderson [pp.278-279, pp.286-287], William A. Baillie [p.84, etc], William D. Birrell [p.164, p.239], George Blyth [p.204, p.206], Alex Brown [pp.285-287], Grace Brown [pp.172-173], John Coutts [p.22], George Don [pp.175-191], Robert Ford [pp.321-322], William Gardiner [pp.245-256], Charles A. Hall [pp.24-30], Walter C. Howden [p.60], Robert S. Inglis [p.313, p.315], Thomas Ormond [pp.292-307], Gilbert Rae [pp.122-124], Archibald H. Rae [pp.263-265], William Robertson [pp.237-243], J.Ross [pp.190-191], Rev. James S. Scotland [p.72, p.74] and an anonymous "XYZ" [pp.154-156]. At the beginning there is a useful combined botanical and general index for persons, places, subjects and titles, although entries are not complete nor completely accurate. The book would seem to have been acquired from the family by Miss Kinnear possibly in the period following Mr Robertson's death in 1949. Table of main items (letters, other mss, etc.) included: p.22 Original verses by Rev. John Coutts: "Something quite original for my album, please?: An Apology". p.30 etc. Letter, 25 August, 1912, Rev. Charles A. Hall (of Paisley), Brodick, to D.R. Robertson. Letter, 2 September, 1912, Rev. Charles A. Hall, Paisley, to D.R. Robertson. (re D.R.R.'s drawings). Hall's photographs [p.24, p.26, p.30]. p.60 Letter, 6 February, 1909, Walter C. Howden, Wormit to D.R. Robertson, enclosing copy of Howden's poem 'For the Old Sake's Sake'. p.72 'On Mount Carmel', poem by Jas. S. Scotland, April, 1889, illustrated by D.R. Robertson(?). [MS] p.74 'Carmel revisited', poem by Jas.S. Scotland, April, 1911, illustrated by D.R. Robertson(?). [MS] p.84 Letters, 30 October and 6 December, 1912, Alexander Polson, Nigg, to D.R. Robertson (re William Baillie, the Brora naturalist). p.87 Note, 6 December, 1912, Alexander Polson, Nigg, added to D.R.R.'s article on William Baillie. p.88 Letter, 26 November, 1912, Mrs W. Elphinstone, Brora to D.R. Robertson (re William Baillie, the Brora naturalist). Visiting card of Alexander Polson. Photo of William Baillie. p.90 Letter, 28 April, 1898, William Baillie, Brora, to Alexander Polson. p.124 Memo, 19 August, 1912, Gilbert Rae, Biggar, to D.R. Robertson, enclosing copy of his poem 'Our Refuge' [p.122]. p.142 'Farewell Balmerino', poem by David Boyter, 1845, [illustrated by D.R. Robertson(?). [MS] p.15 'XYZ' (Article on a jackdaw), autograph copy. n.d. pp.12-164 William D. Birrell (poems:) 'The Auld Howff', 'Mother Earth', 'April', 'Sabbath Morning', autograph copies. n.d. p.174 Letter, 19 August, 1912, Grace Brown, Reston, to D.R. Robertson, enclosing autograph copy of her poem 'The Skylark' [p.172]. pp.182,184 Leaf from daybook of George Don, 30 January, 1812. p.186 Portrait supposedly of George Don though actually of his father. p.204 George Blyth, 'The Robin and the Storm' (poem), autograph copy, 1873. p.206 'Falling Leaves' (poem), autograph copy, also by George Blyth (?), 1855. p.217 William Robertson, poem. p.239 William D. Birrell, 'The Good Grey Poet...' inscribed to William Robertson, autograph copy. n.d. p.249 Obituary on "Death of William Gardiner the Botanist" (by W.M. Ogilvie), Northern Warder, 24 June, 1852. pp.263-265 A.H. Rea, 'O divot dyke' (poem), autograph copy. n.d. p.273 Letters, 20 and 29 September, 1910, Mrs Annie Reith, Edinburgh, to D.R. Robertson, the first enclosing a copy of her poem 'To a little child'. [272pp] p.279 Letter, 21 February, 1908, Alexander Anderson, Edinburgh, to D.R. Robertson, enclosing copy of his poem 'The Churchyard Tree'. [278pp] pp.286-287 Letters of 29 February and 1 April, 1908, Alex. Brown, Edinburgh, to D.R. Robertson, the former enclosing a copy of his poem 'The Undertone'. [285pp] [re Thomas Ormond: ] p.301 Original manuscript of 'Beltie's Lum' by Thomas Ormond, Forfar. p.305 Original manuscript of 'A New Song' ["John Anderson, my Jo, John"] by Thomas Ormond, Forfar. p.307 Letter 30 October, 1912, John A. Fenton, Forfar, to D.R. Robertson, enclosing original manuscript of Ormond's version of "John Anderson, my Jo, John" (v. [pp.305] above), his 'Beltie's Lum' (v. [301pp] above) and 'Little Maggie Bran' and "a few sentences embracing" Ormond's life written by Fenton [p.291, p.293, p.297, p.299, p.303, p.305 and p.306]. p.465 Original manuscript of "Song" ("The moon is in the sky") and on reverse side "Song" ("Keen blaws the blast on the high hill of Gaston") by Charles Spence, the Gowrie poet, n.d. (probably early 19th century), given to D.R. Robertson by John Paul. p.467 Sketch, pen and ink and watercolour, of Blue Gum, Eucalyptus, by R. Donn. Note:- After p.461, 1914 (except for botanical glossary at back). Inserts:- (1) "50 years in Jute Industry": obituary of David Robert Robertson, dated 30 December, 1949. [Typed copy] (2) Contents list. [3pp] [TS] (3) Photographs:- (1) David Robert Robertson with two of his three daughters including Helen, Glenshee, early 1930s. (2) David Robert Robertson, his daughter Helen and her mother-in-law, c1942. [Copies available of some drawings]

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MS 103/3/3

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Description compiled in line with the following standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) General International Standard Archival Description; International Council on Archives, ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families; National Council on Archives, Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997



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