Brief Biography

Dad Burns

(Partly taken from his 2007 obituary)

Robert Hay Carnie, was born in 1928 in Dundee Scotland to Robert and Jessie Carnie (née Skelligan) with sisters Isabel, May and Ruby. Robert Sr. was a publican and Jessie was a jute weaver. He attended the Morgan Academy in Dundee, graduating in 1946 and received an MA in English and Philosophy (1950) and a PhD in English literature (1954) (Dissertation: Lord Hailes a Study. Supervisor: Prof. Alex Falconer) from the University of St. Andrews. In 1957 he married his wife of 50 years, Jean. They had 3 children: Morag, an archivist, Fiona, a violinist and music teacher, and Andrew, a professor of linguistics.

Beloved by his students, he taught at Bedford College London, Queens College at the University of St. Andrews, the University of Ife in Nigeria, the University of Dundee, and for twenty years at the University of Calgary. He taught and researched 18th century Scottish literature, bibliographic studies, book cover design, the Scottish book trade, and the works of Samuel Johnson, James Hogg, Lord Hailes, and Robert Burns. At the University of Calgary, Bob served for 9 years in the president’s office as Secretary of the General Faculties Council. He was the editor of the journal Abstracts in English Studies. He was also the author of numerous articles and pamphlets and wrote the beautiful Burns Illustrated, published by the Calgary Burns Club.


Bob was an avid golfer, fisherman and sports fan. He loved to listen to the music of Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. But his greatest passion, apart from his bonnie Jean, was collecting signed decorative book bindings. His extensive collection was donated to the University of Calgary in 2006. Bob was the bard, distinguished life member and past president of the Calgary Burns Club and a life member and frequent speaker at the Schiehallion Scottish Society.

Bob was a man who believed that compassion, justice and truth come from within us all, that learning and knowledge are the greatest achievements of civilization and that things of beauty are worth our time and attention even if they have no monetary value. Bob Carnie passed away September 8th, 2007. His gentle loving nature, wisdom and wit will be greatly missed by his family.