Abraham Lincoln, Robert Burns, and the Scottish Connection

Published: 25 January 2022

The White House Historical Association speaks to UofG's Professor Murray Pittock about US President Abraham Lincoln's fondness for Robert Burns and Scottish culture throughout his life.

The White House Historical Association released a new podcast on Burns Night (25 January 2022), "Abraham Lincoln, Robert Burns, and the Scottish Connection," which details the long history of Scottish influence on the White House.

In this episode of its 1600 Sessions, Association President Stewart McLaurin speaks with Professor Murray Pittock of the University of Glasgow and Ian Houston, president of the Scottish Business Network Americas.

They discuss President Abraham Lincoln's fondness for famed poet Robert Burns and Scottish culture throughout his life. Burns authored "Auld Lang Syne" in the late 18th century and was one of Lincoln's greatest literary and personal inspirations.

 "It's pretty likely that Burns' songs were being sung in the Ohio Valley when Lincoln was there in the 1820s and that he had some acquaintance with the poet earlier," said Professor Pittock.

"Many of the songs and poetry of Burns were about love and love for other people. I believe that [Lincoln] would have used that poetry as he communicated with Mary [Todd]," said Mr Houston. 

The 1600 Sessions is available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher.

To hear the full episode, visit The1600sessions.org.

The 1600 Sessions

In this podcast series, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin interviews luminaries, historians, and eyewitnesses to history about America's most famous residence and office—the White House. Each episode includes a prominent guest or guests to discuss varying facets of White House history, including insights from former staff and many other topical issues.

About The White House Historical Association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. In 1961, the White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion's legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association's mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the White House Historical Association has contributed more than $50 million in fulfillment of its mission. To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit www.whitehousehistory.org.

First published: 25 January 2022