Hamish Henderson Archive update, August 2013
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Dear friends, 

August 2013: Hamish Henderson Archive Update

Below is a copy of a news release going out today with an important announcement on the Hamish Henderson papers. This marks the conclusion of two years of work on the Trust's part to ensure this material was secured for future generations, and we hope you'll agree that this is a wonderful outcome. We are extremely grateful for the support, goodwill and patience shown by you all, in particular those who gave towards our fundraising campaign and have been keenly awaiting the long-promised journal. News on that is at the foot of this email.

The bulk of the Trust's work is now done, and we will continue to host the website and provide occasional advice on the archive and Hamish's life and work as time permits. Thank you all once again, we could not have done this without your collective support.

In the meantime, we leave the last words, for now, to Hamish:

Change elegy into hymn, remake it -
Don't fail again. Like the potent
Sap in these branches, once bare, and now brimming
With routh of green leavery,
remake it, and renew.

[from 'Under the Earth I Go', in Collected Poems and Songs, ed. Raymond Ross, published by Curly Snake, 2000, pp. 154-55.]


Press release: 
Poet's archive helps capture sweep of 20th century history

Letters, manuscripts, and notebooks that offer unique insights into some of the 20th century's major social and political upheavals have been acquired by the University of Edinburgh.
The archive of documents belonging to the poet and folklorist Hamish Henderson include first-hand accounts of events unfolding in 1930s Germany, the Second World War and apartheid era South Africa.
Henderson, who died in 2002 aged 82, was one of Scotland's most prominent cultural figures. He was a leading architect of the Scottish folksong renaissance and co-founder of the University's School of Scottish Studies.
The archive includes unfinished and unpublished poems. There are also letters to and from major cultural figures such as American folk singer Pete Seeger, poet Norman MacCaig, and Scottish makar Edwin Morgan, and notebooks from his time serving in the Intelligence Corps during the Second World War.
His private archive of more than 10,000 letters from almost 3400 correspondents, plus 136 notebooks and diaries, has been acquired by the University Library's Special Collections from the Henderson family through the offices of the Hamish Henderson Archive Trust.   
The material reflects his many interests, as a folksong collector, a cultural historian, a Scottish nationalist, and an international democratic socialist. A committed Europhile, he was also a supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, a campaigner against Apartheid and injustice in general.
From the late 1930s there is information about Henderson's attempts to help smuggle Jews out of Germany. In the cold war era there is correspondence with the American Embassy in London calling for clemency in the 1952 case of convicted spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were eventually executed for passing nuclear secrets to the Russians.
Henderson wrote the song "Men of Rivonia" in the 1960s in support of Nelson Mandela and the South African freedom fighters. The archive contains a letter of thanks from the ANC to Henderson. He met Mandela when the South African visited Glasgow in 1993 following his release.
Also included are many notebooks relating to Henderson's fieldwork collecting old stories and songs during his time at the University's School of Scottish Studies. There are many letters from people whom he recorded, which provide vital context to recent sound archive digitisation projects.
Dr. John Scally, Director of Library and University Collections said: "The Hamish Henderson archive is a fine research asset and connects very strongly with a number of other collections already held by the Library.  It will enhance our existing strengths and help promote further development and funding of our holdings relating to Scottish Studies."
It is expected that the Archive will be ready for consultation by researchers by the end of September 2013.
The University of Edinburgh gratefully acknowledges the help and assistance of the Hamish Henderson Archive Trust, the National Fund for Acquisitions, the Friends of the National Libraries and the Friends of Edinburgh University Library in acquiring the archive. 
For further information please contact:
Edd McCracken, Press and PR Office, tel 0131 651 4400; email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sponsume supporters: 
The journal is ready! 
Many thanks to those of you who contributed to our Sponsume crowdfunding campaign. We're pleased to say that at long last the commemorative booklet is now ready and back from the printers after an extended wait, while we worked hard on our main goal, securing the fate of Hamish's papers. Sponsumers who donated £20 or more receive a copy of the booklet, while those giving £100 or more have been invited to a small launch event on Wednesday 7th August at Edinburgh University Library. Copies will be posted out to qualifying supporters in the next couple of weeks. Many thanks for your patience.  
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