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Robert Burns Lives!
Review of the Burns Chronicle

Edited by Frank R. Shaw, FSA Scot, Dawsonville, GA, USA

A dear old friend of mine has come back into my life! This friend has been missing for more years than I care to remember and, I must confess, I have greatly missed this particular companion. I liked the replacements that took his place and, while these new friends were more colorful and were published on a quarterly basis, they could never replace that special relationship I had developed with my old friend. Lord knows, “they” tried hard to replace him with something better and one would think it would be an easy task, but to me, something was always missing. When I heard he was soon to reappear in my life again, I rejoiced and have welcomed him back with great joy and gratitude with the hope “they” never send him away again. I am not saying it was a mistake, it could have simply been trial by error, but the phrase that comes to mind is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

I am talking about the Robert Burns World Federation’s decision to return to one single volume a year of the Burns Chronicle instead of four magazines a year! When quarterly magazines labeled as Burns Chronicles flashed across my desk I could truthfully say they were “prettier” in most regards, with shorter articles, but my old friend was still being missed. You may be better than me when it comes to keeping up with things, but I am short several copies of the quarterly publications that have either been lost or loaned and never returned. Yet, amazingly, I’ve never lost an annual Burns Chronicle.

All of this changed some few weeks ago when I received the 2014 Burns Chronicle with the front cover bearing a very fine picture of Robert Burns. The back cover made me smile and feel at home among the single issues as it carried an advertisement for milk chocolate tea cakes from Tunnock’s, boasting it was “still a family business.”

The Burns Chronicle now has the support of an Editorial Advisory Board consisting of Dr. Corey Andrews, Professor Liam McIlvanney and Professor Murray Pittock, and Bill Dawson remains Editor. Interestingly, works by each of these men have appeared in the pages of Robert Burns Lives! It has been 12 years since a single yearly Burns Chronicle appeared at our doorsteps even though, to me, it seems much longer. But it’s wonderful to welcome my old friend back home. You were greatly missed and could not be replaced!

In the contents of the new issue we find Professor Gerard Carruthers writing about his old friend, Professor G. Ross Roy. Before his untimely death in 2013, Ross had written about his grandfather, W. Ormiston Roy, and this remembrance is shared as well. We also have various articles by Professor Patrick Scott, Bill Dawson, Professor Craig Sharp, Ronnie Crichton, Cameron Goodall, Jim Thomson, James Davidson, Norman Paton, and the late Professor Kenneth Simpson, who will live on in our hearts, and that of his son David, for years to come. This is a book I am happy to receive and place on the self with copies of other chronicles dating back to 1892, the year the first was printed.

I must ask, are you a member of the Robert Burns World Federation? If not, you might want to consider joining. The annual chronicle, which lists for £30, is sent to all members and is a valuable part of your membership. Please email for information about joining the federation and receiving the annual Burns Chronicle. (FRS: 2.20.14)

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