Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s library receives Sorley Maclean’s book collection

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The library at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye has received a remarkable collection of books belonging to the renowned poet Sorley Maclean.

Numbering almost 1,800 titles, the collection includes old family books, prizes from Sorley’s schooldays and presentation copies, in addition to his own personal acquisitions.

Born in Raasay, Sorley Maclean (1911-1996), a champion of the Gaelic language, would go on to become a poet of international stature.

He was involved in education for most of his life and was one of the college’s founding trustees and first writers-in-residence, making the college an appropriate home for his collection.

The wide-ranging collection covers English and Gaelic literature, Highland history and the arts.

An outstanding addition to the library’s holdings, it is also an interesting insight into one of Scotland’s finest poets of the 20th century and will be of great interest to students, researchers and the public.

The collection was officially unveiled at a reception on Friday July 27, attended by family and trustees of the Sorley Maclean Trust.

Attending the event was Dr Ann Matheson, chairwoman of the Library Advisory Committee, who said: ‘Sorley MacLean’s rich personal book collection, with its interest for students, academic staff and the wider world of scholarship and public interest, is a unique acquisition for Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Library, under whose guardianship it will be highly esteemed and cared for.’

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Principal Professor Boyd Robertson, who chaired proceedings, added: ‘The acquisition of this fascinating and eclectic collection of one of the major Scottish literary figures of the 20th century adds lustre to the impressive riches of the college library and it is fitting the institution with which Sorley was so closely associated should become custodian of this veritable treasure trove.’