Author Information At the Circulating Library
Author: Janet Milne Rae (1844–1933)
Alternate Name(s): Gibb (maiden name); Mrs. Milne Rae (familiar name)
Biography: Janet Milne Rae was born at Willowbank, Aberdeen, the daughter of the prominent civil engineer Alexander Gibb and his wife Margaret Smith. Her maternal grandfather was William Smith, one architect in a family of architects. Rae's mother died when she was twelve and her father followed ten years later. She married Rev. George Milne Rae, son of an innkeeper and graduate of Aberdeen University, and together the couple worked as missionaries in Madras, India, where her husband was a fellow of the University of Madras and professor at the Madras Christian College. While in India, Rae began writing fiction, beginning with Morag: A Tale of Highland Life (1872). Much of her fiction appeared in The Sunday Magazine and other religious-themed periodicals. In the 1890s, the family returned to Edinburgh where George Milne Rae, now a doctor of divinity, published The Syrian Church in India (1892) and served as the secretary to the Colonial and Continental and Jewish Committees of the United Free Church of Scotland. Rae continued writing—a later novel, A Bottle in the Smoke: A Tale of Anglo-Indian Life (1912) draws on her experiences in India. Her husband died in 1917, and she died in Edinburgh in 1933 at the age of 90 years old. Rae's daughter Lettice Milne Rae (born 1882) also was an author of fiction and the memoir Ladies in Debate: Being a History of the Ladies' Edinburgh Debating Society, 1865–1835 (1936), of which her mother was an active member.
References: Aberdeen Weekly Journal (3 April 1893); Times (29 March 1917; 27 April 1933)