A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Chambers, Robert

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Chambers, Robert (1802-1871).—Historical and scientific writer, was b. at Peebles. Early dependent on his own exertions, he started business as a bookseller in Edin. at the age of 16, devoting all his spare time to study, to such purpose that in, 1824 he pub. Traditions of Edinburgh, a work in which he had the assistance of Sir W. Scott. Thereafter he poured forth a continuous stream of books and essays on historical, social, antiquarian, and scientific subjects. He joined his brother William (q.v.) in establishing the publishing firm of W. and R. Chambers, and in starting, Chambers's Journal, to which he was a constant contributor. Later ventures were The Cyclopædia of English Literature (1842-44), of which several ed. have appeared (last 1903-6), and Chambers's Cyclopædia (10 vols. 1859-68; new 1888-92). Among his own works may be mentioned Vestiges of Creation, pub. anonymously (1844), a precursor of Darwinism, A Life of Burns (1851), Popular Rhymes of Scotland (1847), History of the Rebellions in Scotland, Domestic Annals of Scotland (1859-61), Ancient Sea Margins (1848), Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen and The Book of Days (1863). He was LL.D. of St. Andrews.