CL Press
A Fraser Institute Project

Life of Adam Smith

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John Rae's Life of Adam Smith was originally published by Macmillan in 1895. Here we offer an inexpensive facsimile reprint.

Our reprinting of the work is the first in our reprint series called CL Reprints. The Project Manager of CL Reprints is Zachary Yost. The logo for CL Reprints is the following illustration "Gutenberg's Press" by Dave Grey, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution–NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.

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Here are excerpts from two 1895 reviews of Rae's Life of Adam Smith, and one from 1966 when it was previously reprinted:

Carlos C. Closson, Journal of Political Economy, 1895:

Mr. John Rae, with the co-operation of many scholars and of university and library officials, has given us a Life of Adam Smith which sums up, in thoroughly competent fashion, the information that has come to light during the last century. Mr. Rae has executed his task conscientiously and well. He keeps himself -perhaps almost too much -in the background, leaving the documents and bits of evidence to tell their own story.


Edward Gaylord Bourne, The American Historical Review, 1895:

Mr. Rae has made not only a valuable contribution to our knowledge of the career of Adam Smith, but, incidentally, has presented an instructive picture of educational activity during the middle of the eighteenth century.


A.J. Youngson, The Economic Journal, 1966:

It is just over seventy years since Rae's Life of Adam Smith was published. It remains the standard biography and has become, in its way, a classic. The product of careful scholarship, its merits are many and obvious. Rae made use of a great variety of material, published and unpublished; he wrote well; and his account is at once full, accurate, sympathetic and fair.