Graham, Robert Bontine Cunninghame, Unspecified, author

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Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham was born in London, England, on 24 May 1852, the eldest of the three sons of William Cunninghame Bontine, of Gartmore, Perth & Kinross, Scotland and Ardoch, West, Dumbartonshire, Scotland. He was educated at Harrow School, London, and spent a year at a private school in Brussels.

At the general election of 1886 he was elected as a liberal for North-West Lanarkshire, Scotland. His political sense was both erratic and acute and went to the underdog wherever he found him. He quickly developed into an ardent socialist devoted to William Morris, and a friend of John Burns. He contested unsuccessfully the Camlachie division of Glasgow, Scotland, in 1892, and in 1918, again unsuccessfully, Western Stirling & Clackmannan. When the national party of Scotland was founded in 1928 he was elected its first president. In the same year at the election for the lord rectorship of Glasgow University he polled only 66 votes fewer than Stanley Baldwin.

In height, appearance, and bearing, Cunninghame Graham looked a Spanish Don for his maternal grandmother, Catalina Paulina Alessandro, was Spanish and as a boy taught him Spanish and brought him up in the Spanish way.

At the age of seventeen he paid the first of several visits to Spanish America and rode with gauchos over the South American plains and, later, with Indians in Mexico, where he formed a close friendship with 'Buffalo Bill'. W H Hudson, dedicating El Ombu to him in 1902, called him 'Singularisimo escritor ingles' because he 'alone of European writers has rendered something of the vanishing colour of that remote life.' He was in Paraguay when that land had lost most of its male population in the four years' war waged by Francisco Solano Lopez upon Brazil, Argentine, and Uruguay, and he gave an account of the man in his Portrait of a Dictator (1933). In the war of 1914-1918 he was there again, buying remounts for the British government and in 1935 he went there once more, at the age of eighty-three, and at Buenos Aires, greatly respected by the people, he died 20 March 1936. In honour of him, a new city in the Argentine was named Don Roberto.

His understanding of old Spanish life and of the Conquistadors is shown in nine volumes of historical and biographical studies. He wrote a little-known classic of travel, Mogreb-el-Acksa (1898), an account of a dangerous journey, when he travelled through southern Morocco; a local cadi imprisoned him, and he was released only after a painful experience. His best work is considered to be his many volumes of stories, essays, and sketches. His style was candid, direct, and vivid; his images are homely and apt.

In 1879, Cunninghame Graham married Gabriela, daughter of Don Francisco Jose de la Balmondiere. Born in Chile of a French father and a Spanish mother, she was poet, water-colourist, botanist, and mystic. She died, childless, in 1906, and he himself dug her grave in the grounds of the ruined Augustinian priory on the isle of Inchmahome in the Lake of Menteith, Stirling, Scotland. He was buried beside her following his own death in March 1936.

H M Tomlinson, 'Graham, Robert Bontine Cunninghame', , Dictionary of National Biography ( 1949 )

From the guide to the Papers of Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham, 1852-1936, politician and author, 1909, (Glasgow University Library, Special Collections Department)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Vol. XLI (ff. 309). 1887-1890.includes:f. 2 Countess Walburga Ehrengarde Helena de Paget,; née Hohenthal; wife of Sir A B Paget: Memorandum, rel. to socialists in South Austria, by: 1887.f. 2 Franz Josef I; Emperor of Austria: Memorandum by Lady ..., 1887-1890 British Library
referencedIn Vol. IX (ff. 357+134*). Mar. 1889-June 1891.COUNTY OF London: Correspondence and papers of J. Burns as L.C.C. representative for Battersea: 1889-1905.Trade Unions: Correspondence, speeches, etc., of J. Burns, M.P., 1872-1905.includes:ff. 1, 1... British Library
creatorOf G. B. SHAW PAPERS: SERIES I. Vol. XXIV (ff. 166). Correspondence with:1. ff. 1-41. Sir Hall Caine; 1904-1928.2. ff. 42-53v. Mrs. Patrick Campbell (correspondence of and concerning); 1901-1939.3. ff. 54-58v. Sir Lewis Casson and Dame Sybil Thorndik..., 1885-1950 British Library
creatorOf MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS obtained at Avila by the late Mrs. R. B. Cunningham Graham, and largely relating to the family and friends of St. Teresa, and to the convent of S. José at Avila, her first foundation; 1547-1849. All, except art. 21 of A. which ap... British Library
referencedIn Vol. X (ff. 202). 1909-1924.includes:f. 1 Mary Evelyn De Morgan, artist; wife of W F de Morgan: Letter to Mrs William Morris: 1909.f. 3 Longmans, Green and Co; publishers: Agreement with W. Morris's literary trustees for publication of an edition..., 1909-1924 British Library
referencedIn Vol. XLVIII (ff.319). 1909.includes:f. 1 Sir Henry Austin Lee, KCMG: Correspondence with Sir C. Dilke: 1880-1910.: typewritten copies.f. 3 George Ranken Askwith, Baron Askwith 1919: Correspondence with Sir C. Dilke: 1908-1910.f. 7 Pierre Bracqu..., 1909 British Library
creatorOf Vol. CXVI. 1902-1905.Sir Claude Phillips, Keeper of the Wallace Collection: Robert Baldwin Ross, literary executor of Oscar Wilde: Letters to Robert Baldwin Ross from Sir Claude Phillips: 1902-[1918], n.d.Robert Baldwin Ross, literary executor of Osc..., 1902-1905 British Library
referencedIn BURNS PAPERS. Vol. IV (ff. 323). Correspondence with Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham, M.P.; included are (f. 5) a letter, 29 Feb. 1888, from his wife Gabrielle Marie, and (f. 13) a letter, 29 June [ 1889?], from Mrs Cunninghame Graham to Martha Cha..., 1888-1928 British Library
creatorOf Graham, Robert P. A critique of the divident law of Canada and related accounting problems. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf MS Mus. 1645. Vol. xx. Chamberlain-Lobkowicz.ff. 202. 305 x 230mm.includes:f. 1. Arthur Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister: Harriet Cohen, CBE; pianist: Note from Arthur Neville Chamberlain to Harriet Cohen: 1938: Typewritten, signed.ff. 2-3. Ha... British Library
creatorOf CHARNWOOD AUTOGRAPHS. Vol. II. English literary autographs; circa 16th-20th cent. Included are Edmund Waller, Andrew Marvell, John Evelyn, John Locke, John Dryden, Joseph Addison, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, William Congreve, Sir Richard Steele, ..., approximately 16th century-20th century British Library
referencedIn Vol. III, A-M. 1790-1931.includes:f. 1 Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, Viscount Allenby: Letter to Sir P. C. Mitchell: 1930.f. 2 Henry Edward Armstrong, FRS; chemist: Letter to A. W. Rowe: 1905.ff. 2-165 passim Arthur Walton Rowe, MRCS: Letters to..., 1790-1931 British Library
referencedIn A-P. (ff. 83).includes:f. 1 George William Russell, alias 'AE'; Irish poet: Letter to E. Rhys: 1935.f. 3 Nancy Witcher Astor, MP; wife of Waldorf, 2nd Viscount Astor: Letter to E. Rhys: 1933.: Signed.f. 4 Eleanor Marx Aveling, daughter of Karl ... British Library
creatorOf Vol. CXVII. 1906-1909.Charles de Sousy Ricketts, alias 'Jean Paul Raymond'; RA: Thomas Robert Way, artist and printmaker: Letters to Thomas Robert Way from Charles de Sousy Ricketts: [1906]-1907.Robert Baldwin Ross, literary executor of Oscar Wilde: ..., 1906-1909 British Library
creatorOf Papers of Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham, 1852-1936, politician and author, 1909 Glasgow University Library Special Collections
creatorOf G. K. CHESTERTON PAPERS. VOL. LII. (ff. 212). Correspondence with:1. ff. 1-7. Helen Parry Eden; 1913-1933, n.d. With draft opening of a letter from Chesterton.2. ff. 8-9. Ernest Whalley Edminson; 1929.3. f. 10. J. P. Ellis; 1932.4. ff. 11-18. Corresp..., 1894-1935 British Library
referencedIn BAX COLLECTION. Vol. LVIII. Twelve photographs, of Bax, Albert Einstein, Elgar, Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, R. B. Cunninghame Graham, Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Schweitzer, Moshe Sharett, Shaw, Sibelius, De Valera, Weizmann. Signed. Various sizes.Chai... British Library
creatorOf MS Mus. 1640. Vol. xv. Constantinesco-Ramsay MacDonald.ff. 204. 305 x 230mmincludes:ff. 1-8. Harriet Cohen, CBE; pianist: Grégoire Constantinesco, Romanian Envoy: Letters from Grégoire Constantinesco to Harriet Cohen: 1931, n.d.: Fr.f. 7. Harriet... British Library
referencedIn G K Chesterton Papers, 1877-1988 British Library: Western Manuscripts
referencedIn MISCELLANE0US LETTERS AND PAPERS, viz.:-A. Letter from Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, Italian statesman, to Nassau William Senior, economist, forwarding a publication of the Sardinian government on charitable institutions; 4 Jan. 1842. French. For a..., 1100-1936 British Library
referencedIn Vol. IX (ff. 231). 1880-1908.includes:f. 1 Jane Alice Morris, daughter of Jane Morris: 'Record of the Secret Society': 1874.ff. 3, 36, 44, 46, 48, 50, 51, 54, 69 Prince Petr Alekseevich Kropotkin,; Russian revolutionary: Letters to Miss M. Morris..., 1880-1908 British Library
referencedIn Vol. XI (ff. 149). 1925-1938, n.d.includes:f. 1 Sir William Hamo Thornycroft, sculptor: Letter to Miss May Morris: 1925.ff. 2, 13 Anna Simons, German calligrapher: Letters to Miss May Morris: 1925, 1927.f. 5 Welbore St Clair Baddeley, of Painsw..., 1925-1938 British Library
referencedIn Vol. I, ff. 346, A-G.includes:f. 1 Joseph Adams, MD; biographer of John Hunter: Letter to W. Clift: 1817. f. 3 William Davenport Adams, author: Letter to C. D. Sherborn: 1891. f. 4 William Harrison Ainsworth, alias 'Cheviot Ticheburn'; novelist: Le... British Library
referencedIn WILLIAM MORRIS PAPERS. Vol. VIII (ff. 288). Miscellaneous correspondence of William Morris, mainly with persons of distinction in the world of literature; 10 Feb. 1860-14 July 1896. The names of the writers of letters will be found in the Index to th... British Library
referencedIn DILKE PAPERS. Vol. XCIV (ff. 326). Miscellaneous correspondence relating mostly to the death of Sir Charles Dilke and to the subsequent publication of The Life of the Rt. Hon. Sir Charles W. Dilke, Bart., M.P., 2 vols., 1917, by S. L. Gwynn, M.P., an..., 1908-1922 British Library
referencedIn Vol. XLII (ff. 289). 1891-1896.includes:f. 1 Major-General William Kidston Elles, KCB 1891: Letters to Sir C. Dilke: 1889, 1891.f. 2 Harry Kynoch Hudson, CBE; Secretary to Sir C W Dilke: Minute by: 1891.f. 2 John Cooksey, proprietor of 'Dean F..., 1891-1896 British Library
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Japan, Asia
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Active 1888

Active 1928



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