James Halliday (1927-2013) played a pivotal role in stabilising the SNP in the 1950s. He replaced Dr Robert D. McIntyre as chairman of the party in 1956, thus becoming the youngest chairman at the age of 28. However, this promotion was not devoid of problems as internal divisions had to be overcome. By the 1959 election the prospects of the party had started to improve. There were five candidates contesting seats, including Halliday himself who stood once more for Stirling burghs. That same year he handed over the direction of the party to Arthur Donaldson. Halliday contested West Fife in the 1970 election and was in charge of the SNP election committee, responsible for interviewing, training and selecting candidates, throughout the growth years of the 1970s. Furthermore, he also became director and chairman of the Scots Independent.
The archive reflects James Halliday’s long and wide-ranging political career. Of particular significance are the two minute books (1928-1934) of the National Party of Scotland before its merger with the Scottish Party in 1934 to form the modern SNP. The miscellaneous correspondence and papers (1956-2005) provide an insight into Halliday’s role in securing the survival and flourishing of the SNP during the 1950s, 1960s and beyond.