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John Buchan, 1875-1940

Mitchell Library

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John Buchan, 1875-1940

A bust by sculptor Thomas Clapperton, c 1930, of John Buchan (1875-1940), author, historian, lawyer, editor, war correspondent, government administrator, MP and publisher.

Born in Perth, John Buchan moved to the Gorbals with his family when his father was appointed minister at John Knox's Free Church in Surrey Street in 1888. Buchan went to Hutchesons' Grammar School, the University of Glasgow (where his first published writings appeared as magazine articles) and Brasenose College, Oxford.

Buchan's first success as an author came with Prester John in 1910. In all he published over a hundred books, forty of which were fiction, his best known work being the thrice-filmed The Thirty-Nine Steps.

Anyone who thinks that far-fetched conspiracy theories are a modern development should read a John Buchan novel. One of his unlikely heroes was Dickson McCunn, a retired Glasgow grocer, who featured in Huntingtower, Castle Gay and The House of the Four Winds; he was ably abetted in foiling villains by a troop of unruly youths know as the Gorbals Diehards.

After a varied career, Buchan became MP for the Scottish Universities from 1927 to 1935, when he was appointed Governor-General of Canada, a post he held at the time of his death in 1940.

Reference: Mitchell Library, 920 BUC

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

authors, busts, Dickson McCunn, editors, Gorbals Diehards, governors, Hutchesons' Grammar School, John Knox's Free Church, Members of Parliament, MPs, novelists, novels, sculptures, University of Glasgow

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