View Record Number 516

View Record Number 516 - Dr. Calum Iain Maclean, MA; LLD

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Name:Dr. Calum Iain Maclean, MA; LLD
South Uist
Place of death:Daliburgh Hospital
Date of funeral:19/08/1960
Funeral Location:St. Peter's RC Church, Daliburgh
Presider:Fr. Calum MacNeil
Additional Info:Calum Iain Maclean (Scottish Gaelic: Calum Iain MacGhilleathain, 6 September 1915-17 August 1960), a Scottish folklorist, collector, ethnographer and author, was born in 1915 in sgaig, Isle of Raasay, Scotland, to a family of five boys and two girls to Malcolm MacLean (18801951), tailor, and his wife, Kirsty (18861974), daughter of Sorley Mor Nicolson of Braes, Skye, and his wife, Ishabel. His four other brothers were the famous Gaelic poet and scholar, Sorley MacLean [Somhairle MacGill-Eain] (19111996), a schoolmaster and classicist, John Maclean (19101970), and two general practitioners, Dr. Alasdair Maclean (19181999), and Dr. Norman Maclean (c.1917-c.1980). Alasdair was also a historian. Ishabel and Mary, their sisters, were also schoolteachers.
On 19 December 1945, the Irish Folklore Commission sent Calum Maclean to the Hebrides with an ediphone recording device so that at least one serious attempt would be made at the scientific preservation of this material before the last Gaelic storytellers and folk-singers who had escaped the net of the 1872 Education Act had died. Maclean was fully conscious of the task that lay before him and applied himself to the work with gusto.
Mr. Maclean was struck down by cancer in 1956 necessitating the amputation of his left arm the following year. Even with the onset of cancer that was to finish him, he continued to work and remain cheerful under extremely adverse circumstances that reflected the strength of character that belied his small stature. Sadly, Maclean's only major publication was "The Highlands" (1959), and what may be described as an uncompromising view of the Highland people, history and culture from the perspective of an insider, a Gaelic-speaking Scot, received many favourable critical reviews on publication. Mr. Maclean's foremost legacy is his vast collection of mainly Gaelic oral tradition carried out in the field over a fourteen-year period (19461960).
At the comparatively youthful age of only 44, on 17 August 1960, Calum Maclean lost his battle against cancer and died in the Sacred Heart Hospital, Daliburgh, South Uist, Scotland. He was buried in Hallan Cemetery, South Uist, an island that not only claimed him but one that he claimed to be his own. His brother, Sorley MacLean, wrote a moving elegy typifying for many the great loss felt at his death:
Tha iomadh duine bochd an Albainn
dhan tug thu togail agus cli;
s ann a thog thu n t-iriosail
a chuir ar linn air chl.
Thug iad dhutsa barrachd
na bheireadh iad do chch
on thug thu dhaibh an drachd
bu ghrosaich fo do bhigh.
Mhothaich iadsan an dealas
a bha socair na do dhigh,
thuig iad doimhne throm do dhaondachd
nuair baotroime do sprs.
There is many a poor man in Scotland
Whose spirit and name you raised;
You lifted the humble
Whom our age put aside.
They gave you more
Than they would give the others
Since you gave them the zeal
That was a fire beneath your kindness
They sensed the vehemence
That was gentle in your ways,
They understood the heavy depths of your humanity
When your fun was at its lightest.
(Kindly reproduced with permission from Dr. Andrew Wiseman, The University Of Edinburgh, The Calum Maclean Project)
Death Register Number:60/11
Gravestone Inscription:Mar Chuimhneachan
Calum Iain MacLean, MA:LLD
Celtic Scholar and Folklorist
Born in Raasay 6-9-1915
Died in Daliburgh 16-8-1960
"Bidh Sinne 'nad Dheidh Gad Mholadh 's Tu Fein S'an Uir"
Additional Grave Info:The inscription when translated from Gaelic means"In Remembrance"
Calum Iain MacLean, MA:LLD
Celtic Scholar and Folklorist
Born in Raasay 6-9-1915
Died in Daliburgh 16-8-1960
"We Will Be Praising You After You Are Buried." or "We will Remember You After Your Death."

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