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Correspondence, notes, photographs and audiotapes of Dr Alice G. Vines relating to her book `The MacDonald Women: Margaret and Ishbel`.

Identifier: Acc.13629/1-21

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, research papers, photographs and audio tapes, 1904-1994, of Dr. Alice Gilmore Vines (1923-2009) relating to her PhD thesis on Margaret Ethel Gladstone MacDonald (1870-1911) and Ishbel MacDonald (1903-1982), James Ramsay MacDonald’s wife and daughter.

Dr. Vines collected this material in the course of her research for an intended biography of the two women. Over a number of summers she visited Ishbel in Lossiemouth and corresponded with her. Unfortunately, she had not finished the text when Ishbel died in 1982 and thereafter failed to find a publisher for it. Dr Vines lectured in British history at the University of Dayton, Ohio, in the USA. A great enthusiast for Britain, she spent almost every summer in the UK and retired to St. Andrews, Fife, where she lived for twenty years.

The collection includes letters from Ishbel to Dr. Vines and also from other members of the MacDonald family. Of particular significance are the manuscript notes of Ishbel MacDonald containing many recollections about her life and relationship with her parents. In addition, the 15 audio tapes are also significant as they contain interviews with Ishbel and read out extracts from her personal journals. The collection also includes some photographs and transparencies.


  • Creation: 1904-1994

Conditions Governing Access

Normal access conditions apply

Conditions Governing Use

Normal reproduction conditions apply, subject to any copyright restrictions


0.24 Linear metres (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection has been arranged into the following series:

1-3 Correspondence, 1976-1994

4-11 Research notes and thesis, c. 1970s-1982

12 Tapes, c. 1970s-1980s

13-16 Photographs and slides, 1904-1980

17 Newspaper cuttings, 1961-1977

18-21 Miscellaneous

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The collection contains audiotapes and slides.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented, May 20156 May 2015


Most of the material has been retained. Several transparencies have been returned to the donor as they do not fit in with the collection.

National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland
07 05 2015
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Local Descriptive Rules
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository

Archives and Manuscript Division
National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1EJ
0131 623 3700