Angus McIntosh himself would say that a lot of his knowledge about Scottish folklore and folk life came from his friendship, very deep friendship, with a couple, John Lorne Campbell of Canna and his wife, Margaret Faye Shaw. He met them in the 1930s. He’d spent some time with them in Nova Scotia and had also encountered them in Barra where he had gone himself to learn Gaelic and the Campbells worked as independent scholars. They weren’t attached to any institution. They were able to work as collectors of Gaelic folklore particularly because of means at their disposal. They too were experimenting with new technologies but they felt very strongly that there should be an institution in Scotland that was devoted to collecting and to archiving but also studying and teaching and publishing aspects of Scotland’s cultural heritage. It was they who encouraged Angus McIntosh to visit the Irish Folklore Commission which had been created in the 1930s very much as an outcome of Irish independence. Language and lore were seen as very much important parts of Irish identity and McIntosh made a visit to Dublin, during which he met Professor James Hamilton Delargy, Seumas Delargy as he called him, who was the founder and director of the Commission, other members of Commission staff, and he saw how the Commission worked, the importance of being able to spend time on fieldwork with tradition bearers, as they were often called, people with inherited lore and personal experience to communicate. And it was through his contacts in Ireland that the other country and culture that came into play early on was involved and that was Sweden.

  • Margaret Mackay
Thursday 17th June 2010