David Herd (anthologist)

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David Herd (1732–10 June 1810) was a noted Scottish anthologist of songs and ballads.


David Herd was born in Balmakelly in the parish of Marykirk in Kincardineshire in 1732 to Margaret (née Low)(1691–1751) and John Herd, a farmer. He was baptised on 23 October 1732. He became clerk to an accountant in Edinburgh, where he became a well-known figure among the literary men. He devoted his leisure to collecting old Scottish poems and songs. In 1769 he published his first compilation of nearly 60 'heroic ballads' and 300 songs as Ancient Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc. Later enlarged editions appeared in 1776 and 1791.[1]

He was a member and Sovereign (president) of the Edinburgh Cape Club, a tavern based convivial society with members including the painters Alexander Nasmyth, Henry Raeburn, Alexander Runciman, a close friend of Herd's, John Wotherspoon the printer of his book, and Deacon William Brodie. He was also friendly with Sir Walter Scott who made use of his manuscript collections in his collection of ballads, the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.[1]

He died at Potterrow, Edinburgh on 10 June 1810 and was buried in the Buccleuch Parish Church yard.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Donaldson, William. "David Herd". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 28 January 2014.


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