Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Scottish literature, manuscripts, manuscript collecting, Victorian literature


This essay traces the formation by William Law of Littlesborough, Lancashire, of a major collection of literary manuscripts and books, including works by Robert Burns, the Brontes, and Walter Scott; recounts the unlikely role in the 1920s of Davidson Cook, a cooperative society manager from Barnsley, in encouraging the then-owner Sir Alfred Law, M.P., of Honresfield House, to make the collections available for scholarly use; summarizes available information on the partial dispersal of the collection in the late 20s and early 1930s, and the disappearance after Sir Alfred's death in 1939 of much of the collection, including major items; and reviews in detail the current state of knowledge about the Honresfield Burns manuscripts, based on the scholarly access that was provided nearly a hundred years ago.


"A Lost Collection of Robert Burns Manuscripts: Sir Alfred Law, Davidson Cook, and the Honresfield Collection," Robert Burns Lives!, ed. Frank R. Shaw, no. 210 (February 6, 2015): (c) Patrick Scott, 2015.