Ref NoD2
TitlePapers of J.J. Haldane Burgess
DescriptionCorrespondence, 1878-1926; Papers largely concerning J. J. Haldane Burgess' literary work, 1889-1926; Miscellaneous papers including records relating to J. J. Haldane Burgess' academic career, 1880-1905; Records relating to literary works including typescript, manuscript and proof copies, notebooks, papers relating to publications, cuttings of works, bound volumes, reviews, by J. J. Haldane Burgess and W. A. S. Burgess, 1885-1928; Postcard photographs of J.J. Haldane Burgess, 1925.
Date1870-1938
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Admin HistoryJames John Haldane Burgess was born in Burns Lane, Lerwick on 28 May 1862. His father, John Burgess, was a tailor, originally from Edinburgh, and his mother came from Dunrossness.
Burgess studied at Miss Merrylees' private school and the Anderson Educational Institute. In 1881 he won first place for Scotland in Glasgow University's bursary competition. He worked for a year as a pupil teacher at the Institute, and then for several years as acting headmaster at the Bressay school. He then went to study at Edinburgh University. He seemed destined for great academic work. But while he studied his sight began to fail, and by the time he graduated he was completely blind.
He returned to Lerwick, and for the rest of his life made his living as an author and teacher. He taught classics and mathematics to private pupils.
His studies were wide ranging and he mastered most European languages. He also learned Esperanto, and Ido. He dabbled in various Eastern languages too.
Burgess was a prolific writer and his published works include: Rasmie's Buddie (1891); Tang (1898); The Viking Path (1894); The Treasure of Don Andres (1903); As well as many articles for various periodicals.
Burgess fraternised with youthful socialists in the town and taught them languages. He was an admirer of Shetland's Scandinavian past and devised many of the Viking motifs of Lerwick's fire festival, Up Helly Aa.
He died on 16 January 1927. For obituaries see D2/99/15, D2/99/16 and D2/99/19
Persons
CodePersonNameDates
DS/UK/21Burgess; James John Haldane (1862 - 1927); Mr1862 - 1927
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