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George Bruce Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Bruce, George, 1909-2002.
Title: George Bruce Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1964-1968, undated
Quantity: 5 folders (SC)
Abstract: Biographical material, writings, and memorabilia of the Scottish poet.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

George Robert Bruce (1909-2002) was a Scottish poet. Born March 10, 1909, in Fraserburgh on the Scottish coast, he was educated at the Fraserburgh Academy and Aberdeen University, where he received his M.A. He taught English and History and served as deputy headmaster at Dundee High School for more than ten years (1933-1946). His first collection of poetry, Sea Talk, was published in 1944.

In 1946 he took a position with the BBC as programmes producer in Aberdeen (1946-1956) and then as features producer in Edinburgh (1956-1970). During his career with the BBC he was involved in a number of important arts programs for both radio and television. He was also Theatre and Literary Critic for the Sunday Times (1964-1976) and a Fellow in Creative Writing at Glasgow University (1971-1973).

Considered part of the "Scottish Renaissance," his books include several collections of poems as well as Scottish Sculpture: A Record of Twenty Years (with T.S. Halliday), and he was a regular contributor to The Modern Scot, Life and Letters Today, The Voice of Scotland, Contemporary Poetry USA, and the Theological Review.

Bruce received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1984. When he died, his obituary in The Independent included this praise:

Bruce was...equally at home on football terraces or at genteel receptions – to him it was all life, and he reported and responded to it all with love. In his English poetry he might tackle political problems, philosophical, even mystical ideas, at length – in his Scots poetry another voice speaks, one stained with earth, salt sea, and many fishermen's deaths. But this represents no dichotomy, but an integrated continuum, two sides of the same coin.

[Portions of this biographical sketch adapted from Bruce's obituary in The Independent, 29 July 2002.]

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The George Bruce Papers consist primarily of manuscripts, with a few biographical and memorabilia items.

Biographical material contains an essay by Bruce on his experiences growing up on the coast of Scotland. Writings consist of poems, a radio script, and a speech in either manuscript or typescript. Memorabilia contains a clipping from The Scotsman.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Material is arranged alphabetically.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

The library's circulating collection has several items by Bruce; please refer to the Classic Catalog for these related materials.

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Subject Headings


Bruce, George, 1909-2002.


English poetry -- Scottish authors.
Scottish poetry.
Sea poetry, Scottish

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Manuscripts (document genre)
Speeches (documents)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

George Bruce Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of George Bruce.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: --
Date: Aug 1967
Revision history: ca. 1970 - additions (--); 15 Oct 2008 - converted to EAD (MRC)

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Biographical material
SC 244 Essay, "Nearly always summer: some notes from a childhood in the port of Fraserburgh" undated
SC 244 Poems undated - manuscript, typescript
SC 244 Radio scripts Apr 1964 - "In search of Edwin Muir" for BBC Radio Timesmanuscript, typescript
SC 244 Speech undated - talking about his life and work typescript
SC 244 Letter to the editor, about Bruce's work (clipping fromThe Scotsman) 1 May 1968

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