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BUSK, RACHEL HARRIETTE (1831–1907), writer on folk-lore, born in 1831, in London, was the youngest of five daughters of Hans Busk the elder [q. v.] by his wife Maria, daughter of Joseph Green. An elder sister was Mrs. Julia (Pitt) Byrne [q. v.], and Hans Busk the younger [q. v.] was the elder of her two brothers. Miss Busk was well educated by her father, and from an early age she spent much time in foreign travel, becoming an excellent linguist. Brought up as a protestant, she joined the Roman catholic church in 1858, and her example was followed subsequently by her four sisters and younger brother. She lived much at Rome from 1862 onwards, and gained an intimate knowledge of the city and of society there in days of papal independence. Her wide sympathies gave her a wide circle of friends, among them Cardinal Giacchino Pecci, afterwards Pope Leo XIII (in 1878). In 1867 and 1868 she contributed a series of letters to the 'Westminster Gazette' (a weekly Roman catholic paper that ran from February 1859 till April 1879) on Roman politics and society, some of which were reprinted in 1870 in a volume entitled 'Contemporary Annals of Rome, Notes Political, Archaeological and Social, with a Preface by Monsignor Capel.' Travelling in outlying parts of Italy, Spain, and Austria, Miss Busk specially interested herself in folk-lore, collecting thousands of folk-tales and songs by word of mouth from the people. She published anonymously 'Patranas or Spanish Stories' (1870); 'Household Stories from the Land of Hofer, or Popular Myths of Tirol' (1871); and 'Sagas from the Far East: Kalmouk and Mongol Tales' (1873). Under her own name she issued 'The Folk-lore of Rome' (1874); 'The Valleys of Tirol' (1874); and 'The Folk-Songs of Italy' (1887): a well-edited selection, giving a specimen from each province with a line-for-line translation and notes. In 1898 she edited and published in 2 vols. her sister Mrs. Pitt Byrne's 'Social Hours with Celebrities.' She died at Members' Mansions, Westminster, on 1 March 1907, and was buried in the family vault at Frant, near Tunbridge Wells.

[The Times, 8 March 1907; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

E. L.