Janet Milne Rae

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Janet Milne Rae (née Gibb, 1844–1933), usually known as Mrs. Milne Rae, was a Scottish novelist and missionary born at Willowbank, Aberdeen.


Janet Gibb lost her civil engineer father, Alexander Gibb, at the age of twenty and her mother, Margaret Smith, at the age of twelve. She married a graduate of Aberdeen University, Rev. George Milne Rae, and the couple went out as missionaries to Madras, India. There her husband taught at the university and at Madras Christian College. They returned to Edinburgh in about 1891.[1]

Back in Scotland, George Milne Rea published The Syrian Church in India (1892) and Connection between Old and New Testaments (1904), and was prominent in the United Free Church of Scotland. In the first of those books, he argued against the theory that St Thomas the Apostle had preached in India, explaining the assertion as an example of a tradition migrating with the people who believed in it, the Nestorians.[2] He died in 1917. Mrs. Milne Rae died in Edinburgh in 1933.

The Milne Raes had four children, of whom the third, Lettice Milne Rea (1882–1959), was likewise a novelist and also a local historian.[3]


Rae began to write "middlebrow" novels and shorter works of fiction while she was in India, her first being Morag: A Tale of Highland Life (London: James Nesbit & Co., 1872). Her other fiction included Hartleigh Towers, a Story of English Life (London: W. Isbister, 1880), Dan Stapleton's Last Race (London: Marshall Japp & Co., c. 1881), Rinaultrie (T. Nelson & Sons, 1887), A Book for Young Women. Marion's Story; or, Softly All My Years (T. Nelson & Sons, 1887), Bride Lorraine (London: Leisure Hour Monthly Library, c. 1905), The Testing of Clem (London: RTS, 1909), A Bottle in the Smoke. A Tale of Anglo-Indian Life (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1912), The Whipping Boy, etc. (Gay & Hancock, 1914), The Awakening of Priscilla (Stirling: Drummond's Twopenny Stories, 1929) and Geordie's Tryst. A Tale of Scottish Life (London: RTS, n. d.)[4] She was also the editor of The Life Beautiful. A Selection of Passages from Faber (1907).


  1. ^ Drummond News 2008–2009. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  2. ^ Alexander P. Varghese: India: History, Religion, Vision and Contribution to the World, Vol. 1 (New Delhi: Atlantic), p. 295; J. Rendel Harris: The Dioscuri in the Christian Legends (1903), p. 40.
  3. ^ "At the Circulating Library" database of Victorian Fiction. Retrieved 7 March 2014.; Drummond News 2008–2009....
  4. ^ "At the Circulating Library"...; British Library catalogue.

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