Thomas Traill was born in Orkney in 1781 of the family of Traill of Tirlot and the collection includes miscellaneous genealogical, legal and historial material relating to Orkney. He graduated in medicine in the University of Edinburgh in 1802 and by 1803 had settled in practice in Liverpool where he became a prominent figure being prime mover in the foundation of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Liverpool of which he was first Secretary, and assisting in the foundation of the Royal Institution and the Liverpool Institution. In 1832 Traill was appointed to the chair of medical jurisprudence at Edinburgh. His wide ranging interests led to the publication of numerous papers in scientific journals and to his editing the 8th edition of the 'Encyclopaedia Britannica'. Professor Traill died in Edinburgh in 1862.