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The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women

Edited by Elizabeth L. Ewan, Sue Innes, Sian Reynolds, Rose Pipes

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This single-volume dictionary presents the lives of individual Scottish women from earliest times to the present. Drawing on new scholarship and a wide network of professional and amateur historians, it throws light on the experience of women from every class and category in Scotland and among the worldwide Scottish diaspora.

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Advisers to the project
Readers' Guide
The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women
Thematic Index.

About the Author

Elizabeth Ewan is a Professor of Scottish Studies and History at the University of Guelph.

Sue Innes was Research Fellow, Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, Glasgow Caledonian University. Following a career in journalism she returned to study, completing a PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 1998. She was author of Making it Work: Women, Change and Challenge in the 1990s (Chatto and Windus 1995) and Keeping Gender on the Agenda: Participative democracy and the Scottish Parliament (Engender April 1999).

Siân Reynolds is a former Professor at the University of Stirling.

Rose Pipes is a former commissioning editor with Oliver & Boyd publishers, Edinburgh, and now an independent researcher. Her own publications include The Colonies of Stockbridge, and Stockbridge in Living Memory.


A splendid book, with fascinating lives on every page
- Ian Jack
I found myself inflicted by the minor trauma one suffers in reading a good reference tome – head full of page numbers to flick to next, fingers in an implausible tort, keeping pages marked, making notes on a newspaper of entries to check out later.
- Roddy Lumsden
In spite of the recent explosion of Scottish historiography, few would deny that there is still a huge amount to be done. With The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women there is a great leap forward. It pushes out the frontiers not because it is a book about women, but because it tells us so much about Scotland's people. By shining a light on the lives of 830 women, it illuminates social relationships… It is an extraordinarily moving book, not only because it gives us so wide-ranging a picture of female activity and achievement, but because these dictionary entries convey, remarkably, a real sense of flesh and blood, and of Scottish society, especially over the last 400 years… Each entry has been given sufficient space to tell a real story, and the 280 contributors have responded to that opportunity. The result is a collection of narratives that meld into something much more than a reference book. It is a magnificent memorial to the late Sue Innes, one of the book's editors and instigators.
- Jenni Calder
Must surely represent one of the most important landmarks in Scottish publishing history… The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women is a unique contribution to the study of Scottish women's biography and an outstanding reference work which yields discoveries on every page... no home in Scotland should be without a copy.
'The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women is a tour de force of scholarship, commitment, canny decision-making, and unstinting effort on the part of the editors and their 280 contributors. It replaces well-worn generalities and nagging gaps with sprightly details and moving stories. What the editors call "the remembered Scottish past" has just become exponentially richer.
- Christine Bold
A landmark in the development of Scottish historical studies."
- Christopher A Whatley