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Letter from Hugh MacDiarmid to Dr. Mary Ringsleben, 30 August 1958

Identifier: Coll-1384

Scope and Contents

The letter was written by Hugh MacDiarmid on 30 August 1958 from 'Brownsbank', Candymill, Biggar, Lanarkshire. It is addressed to Dr. Ringsleben - Mary Ringsleben having been awarded her Ph.D. two years earlier in 1956 (Aberdeen).

MacDiarmid apologises for having 'retained your thesis so long'. He refers to having seen Dr. David Murison (deputy editor of the Scottish National Dictionary) in Edinburgh and that he had 'just missed you'. He describes the Ringsleben thesis as 'an excellent one and certainly the best thing written on Douglas by far'. He goes on to say that he is 'not going to make any little critical observations' apart from 'wishing to see it expanded and published'. Because it is 'on the short side for a book', he hopes she 'may decide to expand it'. MacDiarmid agrees 'in toto with all the main substance' of the study, and hopes that other subjects in Scots literature may attract her attention.


  • Creation: fl. 1956-1968


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Biographical / Historical

Mary R. E. Ringsleben was awarded the degree of Ph.D. from Aberdeen University in 1956 for her thesis entitled Gavin Douglas: a revaluation. She had been in contact with Scottish writer and poet Hugh MacDiarmid (Christopher Grieve) concerning her work on Douglas, and he had lauded her work.

In another realm entirely, Mary Ringsleben would become an original signatory of the Committee of 100, which was founded on the initiative of Ralph Schoenman and Bertrand Russell in October 1960. This Committee called for a mass movement of civil disobedience against British government policy on nuclear weapons. Its members saw a need for more radical methods than those used by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, especially following the defeat of the Labour Party in the 1959 general election.

Based in Leeds, Ringsleben was an organiser of the Northern Direct Action Committee.


1 letter

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material acquired August 2012. Accession no: E2012.17.

Related Materials

Also within Edinburgh University Library (EUL), Special Collections, there is a copy of Ringsleben's work on Gavin Douglas - Gavin Douglas: a revaluation, 1955. It has accession no: E2012.30.

EUL, Special Collections can also provide access to a collection of Letters to Christopher Murray Grieve (Hugh MacDiarmid).

Processing Information

Catalogued by Graeme D. Eddie 06 December 2012

Letter from Hugh MacDiarmid to Dr. Mary R. E. Ringsleben, 20 August 1958
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
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Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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