The Robert J Bennett Collection

A collection of the papers of Colonel Robert James Bennett, including some correspondence relating to the bequest of his library to Baillie's Library in 1917.

About Colonel Robert J. Bennett

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Colonel Robert J. Bennett (no date)

Robert James Bennett was born in Glasgow in 1843. He was the son of J.B. Bennett, painter and decorator and followed his father into the family business, becoming a partner in 1870. He was an active businessman and was president of the National Association of Painters and chairman of the Western Painters Association of Glasgow. In February 1894 he presented a paper “Building Exchanges in America” to the Architectural Section of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow. This led to the formation of the Glasgow Building Trades Exchange, the object of which was "the encouragement and protection of the building interests in the cities and country." He served as President for several years.

A Volunteer Officer, Bennett rose through the ranks of the 1st Lanark Artillery Volunteers, from a gunner in No. 3 Battery, receiving his commission as sub-lieutenant in June 1868, becoming Commanding Officer, and retiring as Colonel.

Bennett was also a patron of the arts and a keen member of the Glasgow Art Club, where his chief hobby was entomology. He had many other interests, being President of the Caledonian Bee-Keepers' Society, Treasurer of the Glasgow Natural History Society, President of the National Association of Painters and Chairman of the Western Painters' Association of Glasgow. He contributed a number of articles and apiarian notes to the Society Journals.

Bennett died in his 74th year on 25th May 1916, at his sister's house pm 92 Hyndland Road, Kelvinside. His obituary in The Glasgow Herald on 26th May, described him as a man of great geniality, highly regarded and with a wide circle of friends.

About the collection

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Cover, Bennett & Sons, Ltd. Souvenir of Work, Executed by J.B. Bennett and Sons Ltd … 50 Gordon Street, Glasgow. A list of mansions decorated by Messrs Bennett. Gilmour & Lawrence Ltd.. No date

The Bennett Papers consists of letters, photographs, pamphlets, catalogues, ephemera and assorted memorabilia, including correspondence relating to the disposal of the library of Robert James Bennett (1843-1916). Material in the collection is arranged numerically by type:

1-34: Correspondence and material relative to the disposal of Bennett Collection

35-36: Bookplate and proofs of Bookplate

37-47: Black and white photographs of Bennett and others

48-66: Ephemera and memorabilia

67-72: Broadsheets

73-76: Miscellaneous materials

77-86: Art materials and prospectuses

87-90: Pamphlets

91-96: Auction catalogues

As well as his papers, the Mitchell Library received a donation of books which related to Glasgow and to art and artists, numbering nearly 1500 volumes. The Glasgow items include "The Protestation of the General Assemblie"..., the first book printed in Glasgow in 1638, and the first history of Glasgow printed in 1736.

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Bookplate, designed by Roland Barke c. 1908 for Robert J Bennett

Finding aid

Robert J Bennett Collection listing (PDF, 217KB)

Further reading

Robert J Bennett obituary, Glasgow Herald, 26 May 1916, p. 6 (from Google News)

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