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James Johnson (1750-1811) - Music Publisher

He was probably born in Ettrick, the son of a crofter. He went to Edinburgh as a boy, and after an apprenticeship with a music-seller he set up business in Bell's Wynd where he pioneered a new process for printing sheet music. In 1787 he met Robert Burns and invited him to become involved with The Scots Musical Museum (1787-1803), one of the most important collections of traditional Scottish songs and music. The collaboration between the two men gathered together a large number of Scots songs at a time when they were in danger of disappearing from folk memory; and Johnson fired Burns's enthusiasm for song collecting and writing. Despite the importance of The Scots Musical Museum, Johnson's work was largely neglected during his lifetime and he died in poverty in 1811.

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