Florence Marian McNeill England France Germany Scotland

Biography of Florence Marian McNeill

Marian McNeill (1885-1973) was a graduate of the University who became a suffragette, journalist and writer.

Florence Marian McNeill was born on 26 March 1885 at Holm, Orkney, daughter of Free Church minister Daniel McNeill and his wife Jessie Janet Dewar. Educated in Orkney she counted poet Edwin Muir among her schoolfriends. She graduated with an MA in 1912 having spent time as an English assistant in schools in both France and Germany.

An active suffragette, Marian McNeill organised the non-militant Scottish Federation of Women’s Suffrage Societies. During the First World War she was Secretary of the gender equality pressure group the Association for Moral and Social Hygiene. Her later work changed emphasis. In the 1930s she was a Vice-President of the fledgling Scottish National Party and in 1944 she was a member of the Secretary of State for Scotland’s Committee on Rural Housing.

It is as a writer and broadcaster that Marian McNeill was best known. She worked on the Scottish National Dictionary becoming Principal Assistant in 1929. From this work her interest in Scottish history and folklore developed. The Scots Kitchen: its traditions and lore, with old- time recipes was first published in 1929 and is still in print today. It was a pioneering study using her wide knowledge of Scots language and traditions to illustrate culinary history and its links with France. A sequel, The Scots Cellar, followed in 1956. Her major work was The Silver Bough: a study of the National and Local Festivals of Scotland was published between 1956 and 1970 in four volumes. She founded the Clan MacNeil Association of Scotland in 1932.

Marian McNeill died at her Edinburgh home on 22 February 1973 at the age of eighty-seven.


Florence Marian McNeill

Born 26 March 1885.
Died 22 February 1973.
GU Degree: MA, 1912;
University Link: Graduate
Occupation categories: authors; broadcasters; folklorists; journalists
NNAF Reference: F64753
View Major Archive Collection Record
Additional Information: R3/1/1 (vol 2)
Record last updated: 7th Sep 2015

Country Associations

England England, London

France France, Marseilles

Germany Germany, No Region

Scotland Scotland, Orkney

University Connections

University Roles