Edited by Frank R.
Shaw, FSA Scot, Atlanta, GA,
Burns Chronicle Index
met Bill Dawson in Columbia, South Carolina a couple of years
ago while attending the 80th birthday celebration for
the much loved and respected Robert Burns scholar, Ross Roy.
Bill had come from Scotland for the same purpose. Later Susan
and I had opportunity to spend some time with Bill and his
lovely wife, Lesley, while attending the annual meeting of the
Robert Burns Federation in Ayr, Scotland in September, 2005. We
have swapped dozens of emails, and I have found Bill to be quite
knowledgeable about Robert Burns and other Scottish poets,
including one I have only recently started collecting - Hugh
MacDiarmid. I have enjoyed Bill’s company because he is an easy
going fellow, a friendly man who has his head on his shoulders.
Bill has been a “Burns enthusiast” for over 37 years.
The Dawsons have two children, Paula
and Clark, and have been blessed with two grandchildren, Max and
Elliot, 10 and 3 respectively. Bill is a construction Project
Manager and is employed by Tulloch, a major Scottish
construction company out of Inverness. He is currently working
on a project to build luxury lodges by the side of Loch Lomond.
Bill is someone who will go out of
his way to be of help to anyone. He recently helped me plug a
big hole in my collection of Burns Chronicles by sending me
several issues that I had been searching for via the internet
over the past few years. We worked out a swap/cash deal that
would be the envy of any Wall Street broker! That is the type
Burnsian Bill is, and we should be eternally grateful for
something he has now done for all of us who fancy ourselves as
students of Burns.
In an email this week, Bill wrote,
“I revere all Burns haunts …” and mentioned that last weekend he
had taken “a simple walk by the Nith…” which “was one of the
best times I have had in years”. He also mentioned that he had
recently visited Ellisland, Brow Well, and St. Michaels but that
his favorite place is the Tarlbolton Bachelors Club, “especially
if it is in the company of a few well versed Burnsians for a
night of sangs and clatter”.
has compiled a book entitled Directory to The Articles and
Features Published in The Burns Chronicle 1892 - 2005.
Others have had a go at this mammoth task in days past, but in
baseball vernacular, this book is a homerun! I do not recall
receiving a book about which I have become so excited. For those
of us who enjoy reading the chronicles, this compilation will
make The Burns Chronicles come alive. For those of
us who write and prepare speeches, this book is a gold mine. No
longer will one have to go to chronicle after chronicle looking
for articles on a particular Burns subject. In the past while
researching an article for use in a paper or speech, I have
struggled over and over with little or no success while roaming
through countless Burns Chronicles. Bill has made that part of
my research a lot easier.
The book is “categorized by topic to
aid research into particular fields” and “subjects are grouped
according to themes”. Bill goes on to say that “there are minor
variations in the layout of the listings; the logic of this is
to assist the lay reader in the pursuit of an interest, using my
own unrefined research as a model”. The key words to me are
“lay reader” since that is what I consider myself.
True to his nature of assisting
others with Robert Burns, in a letter dated 6th July 2006 which
accompanied the book, Bill said, “I hope you will find this
useful.” I will indeed, Bill, and so will others who use your
marvelous gift to the Burns community.
If you would like a copy of this
wonderful publication, go to Amazon.com and give them ISBN
1846852684. The cost is 30 pounds sterling or approximately $55
in what used to be called “real money”. Actually, when I checked
it out, Amazon.com was selling the book for $49.99 with free
shipping. Or, you may write to Bill Dawson at 4 Riverview, 25
Claremont, Alloa FK10 2DF, Scotland. For the timid, you may add
United Kingdom to the address!
(FRS: 7-21-06, the day Burns died in