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Papers of James Halliday, former chairman of the SNP, and two minute books of the National Party of Scotland.

Identifier: Acc.13417

Scope and Contents

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.


  • Creation: 1928-2005, undated.

Conditions Governing Access

Normal access condition apply except for file 12 which is restricted for Data Protection reasons.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal reproduction conditions apply subject to copyright restrictions.


0.48 Linear metres (4 bound volumes and 28 files)

Language of Materials



The papers arrived in no particular order; therefore the following arrangement system has been imposed:

1-2 National Party of Scotland Minute Books

3-4 Scottish National Party Minute Books

5-32 Miscellaneous correspondence and papers

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The papers are in good condition. However, items 3 and 4 contain sheets of paper glued to the pages of the volume, which may deteriorate over time.

Other Finding Aids

An inventory is available.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented, 2013, through the good offices of Dr Owen Dudley Edwards.28 May 2013


Some duplicates have been weeded and returned to the donor.


James Halliday, Yours for Scotland: a memoir by James Halliday, 2011.
National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland
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