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Abercromby, Alexander, Lord Abercromby (1745–1795), judge and essayist, was born on 15 October 1745, probably at Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, the fourth and youngest son of George Abercromby of Tullibody, Clackmannanshire (1705–1800), who had trained as an advocate, and his wife, Mary (d. 1767)...

Article

Francis Espinasse

revised by Douglas Brown

Anderson, Robert (1749–1830), literary scholar and biographer, was born on 7 January 1749 at Carnwath in Lanarkshire, the son of William Anderson (1718/19–1759), a feuar, or copyholder, and his wife, Margaret Melrose (1720/21–1797). On the death of his father the family was left in straitened circumstances, but ...

Article

Arbuckle, James (d. 1742), poet and essayist, was probably born in Belfast, where he grew up. He belonged to an extended Belfast merchant family of Scottish descent and was perhaps the nephew of James Arbuckle (d. 1736), an international trader and a prominent lay elder in ...

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Anna Letitia Barbauld (1743–1825) by Richard Samuel, 1778 [top left, hand out in gesture Portraits in the Characters of the Muses in the Temple of Apollo] © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Barbauld [née Aikin], Anna Letitia [Anna Laetitia] (1743–1825), poet and essayist, was born on 20 June 1743 at Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire, elder child of the Revd John Aikin (1713–1780), schoolmaster, and his wife Jane (1714–1785), daughter of the Revd John Jennings of ...

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Maker: Sir Joshua Reynolds

James Boswell (1740–1795) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1785 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Boswell, James (1740–1795), lawyer, diarist, and biographer of Samuel Johnson, was born in Edinburgh on 29 October 1740, probably at the family's house on the fourth storey of Blair's Land, Parliament Close, the eldest son of Alexander Boswell, Lord Auchinleck (1707–1782), and his first wife, ...

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Margaret Calderwood (1715–1774) by Allan Ramsay, 1734–5 in the collection of the Dundas-Bekker Family; photograph courtesy the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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Calderwood [née Steuart], Margaret (1715–1774), diarist and traveller, was the eldest daughter of Sir James Steuart of Goodtrees and Coltness, baronet (1681–1727), solicitor-general for Scotland, whose father was Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees (1635–1713), and his wife, Anne (d. 1736), daughter of ...

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Alexander Carlyle (1722–1805) by Sir Henry Raeburn, 1796 Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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Carlyle, Alexander (1722–1805), Church of Scotland minister and memorialist, was born on 26 January 1722, the eldest child of the Revd William Carlyle (1689–1765) and Janet Robeson (1700–1779). He was descended on his father's side from a distinguished Cumberland family who had long before crossed over the Scottish border and established themselves in ...

Article

Kenneth Fielding and David Sorensen

Carlyle, Jane Baillie Welsh (1801–1866), letter writer, was born on 14 July 1801 in Haddington, Scotland, the only child of Dr John Welsh (1776–1819) and Grace, or Grizel, née Welsh (1782–1842). She was named Jane Baillie after her grandmother. Her parents were Scottish. Her father romantically claimed descent from ...

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Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) by George Frederic Watts, 1868 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Carlyle, Thomas (1795–1881), author, biographer, and historian, was born on 4 December 1795 in the Arched House, Ecclefechan, Annandale, Dumfriesshire. He was the eldest son of James Carlyle (1757–1832), a hard-working stonemason whose father, Thomas (1722–1806), the husband of Mary Gillespie (1727–1797), had been a carpenter and tenant farmer; beyond that, the ...

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Alexander Chalmers (1759–1834) by Richard James Lane, 1836 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Chalmers, Alexander (1759–1834), biographer and literary editor, was born on 29 March 1759 in Aberdeen and baptized that day at St Nicholas's in the city, the youngest son of James Chalmers (bap. 1713, d. 1764), printer and publisher [see under Chalmers family (per. 1736-1876)...

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Clark, Andrew (1856–1922), Church of England clergyman, scholar, and diarist, was born on 5 June 1856 at Dollarfield, Clackmannanshire, the fifth son of Robert Clark, a farm worker, and his wife, Eliza Bowie. He was educated at Dollar Academy and from 1871 to 1875 at the ...

Article

G. C. Boase

revised by H. C. G. Matthew

Crichton, Andrew (1790–1855), biographer and historian, youngest son of a small landed proprietor, was born in the parish of Kirkmahoe, Dumfriesshire, in December 1790. He was educated at Dumfries Academy and at the University of Edinburgh. After becoming a licensed preacher he taught for a time in ...

Article

T. F. Henderson

revised by Matthew Kilburn

Cullen, Robert, Lord Cullen (1742–1810), judge and essayist, was born on 22 September 1742 and baptized in the parish of Hamilton, Lanarkshire, on 28 September, the eldest son of William Cullen (1710–1790), physician, and his wife, Anna Johnstone (d. 1786). He was educated at the ...

Article

Cunningham, Lady Margaret (d. 1622?), autobiographer, was one of the six daughters of James Cunningham, sixth earl of Glencairn (d. 1631), and his first wife, Mariot or Margaret (d. 1610), daughter of Colin Campbell of Glenorchy. Despite her high birth she was distinguished principally by misfortune, and by the fact that she wrote a detailed account of the cruelty she suffered at the hands of her first husband; the account provides evidence of the acute vulnerability of wives and the inability of law, custom, and even powerful kinsmen to guarantee protection from brutal husbands. On 24 January 1598 ...