Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Boreham Plagiarized

In Detective Novel
“Among the popular detective novels published in 1942 was Angus MacVicar's Strangers from the Sea -a story of a Scottish minister who, whilst under suspicion of the murder of one of his elders, "laid down the exercise book in which he had been scribbling notes for a sermon-notes based on his reading of the latest book by Dr. F. W. Boreham -and prepared to light his pipe", for ‘the minister, like many another in Scotland, relied for his illustrations almost exclusively upon the books of Dr. F. W. Boreham, the great Australian preacher and writer.’”

Looking Boreham in the Eye
“Nor was it only by fictitious characters that F.W.B. was plagiarized. An American chaplain in World War I, on meeting an Australian chaplain who mentioned that he was a friend of F. W. Boreham's, exclaimed, ‘My, I'd hate to meet that man! I've plagiarized so many of his sermons, I couldn't bear to look him in the eye!’”

Boreham Broadcast Thief
“Perhaps one of the most flagrant instances of plagiarism had occurred in I932, in London, when a service was being broadcast over the B.B.C. from a well-known London church. Down in Tunbridge Wells, Francis Boreham, now too infirm to go to St. John's at night, sat listening to the radio with daughter Jeanie. As the sermon on The Building of the Bridge proceeded, Francis Boreham exclaimed, "I'm sure I've heard that before!" and stepping over to the bookcase, took down son Frank's book Mountains in the Mist, and opening it at page 108 followed the rest of the sermon word for word. He waited for the acknowledgement of its source, and when it did not come, the old gentleman was furious. Indignantly turning to his desk, he penned a straight letter to the preacher about the matter. Not only did the preacher reply to Mr. Boreham in apologetic terms, but also wrote to F.W.B. himself, explaining what he had done and justifying his action on the grounds that, if a sermon were worth printing in a book, surely it ought to be broadcast for all to hear!”

“Not only in the pulpit was he so plagiarized, but also by numerous authors-including some well-known essayists, who would lift whole paragraphs, and even his chapter headings, without acknowledgement. F.W.B. bore none of them any ill-will, but only strengthened his own invariable practice of giving credit for everything he borrowed from others.”

Copyright was passed to me by the Boreham family in the 1990s and I passed it on to Whitley College. Permission to reprint significant portions of Boreham material can be sought from Whitley College Principal, Dr. Frank Rees at

Source: T H Crago, The Story of F W Boreham (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1961), 1961.

Image: Quotation marks