Turnbull Collection


Turnbull Collection


This collection comprises a major part of the working library of the poet, Gael Lundin Turnbull (1928-2004). The collection contains over 1,100 books, pamphlets and periodicals of poetry from Britain, Canada, United States, Australia and France. Many of the items in the collection are presentation copies from other poets. The collection features contemporary poets from both sides of the Atlantic (and Australia) including Basil Bunting, Cid Corman, Robert Creeley, Raymond Souster, Simon Cutts, Laurie Duggan and Louis Zukovsky. It is clear from the collection that from the beginning Turnbull recognised the talent of poets who have since become widely published and he continued to give encouragement and advice to up-and-coming new writers. The collection very much reflects Gael Turnbull's own cosmopolitan background. He was born in Edinburgh of a Scottish Baptist minister father and a mother from Minnesota, USA, of Swedish descent. He was brought up in Co Durham, Blackpool and Winnipeg. He studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University and graduated in medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in 1951. Turnbull practised medicine in Canada, the United States and England until 1989 before retiring to Scotland. In 1957 he started Migrant Press, one of the first British-run presses to focus on poets in the modernist tradition.


The books have been catalogued individually and have the shelfmark 'Tur.'.


The collection was purchased by the Library in 2005, with a few items being subsequently donated by Gael Turnbull's widow.

Related collections

The Library has also acquired manuscript material belonging to Gael Turnbull, including letters, diaries and typescripts. The manuscripts are held at Acc.12476, 12477, 12552, and 12554-12556.




Private presses

Scottish poetry

English literature