Anna Masterton Buchan

Other names: 
O. Douglas
Dates: 
Born 24 March 1877, died 24 November 1948

Anna Buchan was the second child of Helen Masterton, and John Buchan, Free Church of Scotland minister. Born in Pathhead, Fife, she moved with her family to Glasgow in 1888 and was educated at Queen’s Park Academy, Hutcheson’s Grammar School for Girls where she won a prize in English Literature, in Edinburgh, and at Queen Margaret College Glasgow. Throughout her life she was a great lover of theatre and a highly able public speaker at charitable functions, often recounting amusing anecdotes in Scots.

Her family, which included the novelist and diplomat, John Buchan, were enormously important to her and in 1906, when her brother Walter became Clerk to the Town Council in Peebles, she and Walter, and later their parents, moved into Bank House where she organised the household for the rest of her life.

Under the pseudonym ‘O. Douglas’, Anna Buchan’s many novels, often set in the Borders, were extremely popular. Best-known titles include The Setons (1917) and Penny Plain (1920). Her fiction celebrated the circumscribed comfort of settled, female, middle-class existence, and her mainly female readers, affirmed by this fiction, identified with its values of female self-effacement, competent service to others, endurance and humour.

Sources
The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women
Based on an entry by Beth Dickson