A letter written by Robert Burns‘ widow, discovered in a New York junk shop last year, is to be handed over to the National Library of Scotland.

In the letter, dated 1804, eight years after Burns’ death, Jean Armour writes about the death of two of their children. It is thought she was writing to Maria Riddell, a member of a local landed gentry family in Dumfries.

jean armourJean Armour, Robert Burns’ widow

The discovery was made by American scholar Dr Nancy Groce, who, coincidentally, had recently produced a symposium on Burns at the Library of Congress. She paid $75 for the historic letter.

Dr Groce said: ‘I am delighted that this significant letter will be going to a good home.

‘I hope its availability will increase public awareness of Jean Armour Burns, a remarkable and frequently underappreciated woman whose understanding and support assisted Robert Burns to pursue his art.’

* On Burns Night read our  guide to hosting a Burns Supper 

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