Scottish History Society publications make sources available that are vital to the study, writing and teaching of Scotland's history.

These published volumes contain original or primary material — manuscript or printed — that is rare, under used or difficult to access.

Source material must relate to the history of Scotland and the Scottish people. This has resulted in volumes that include everything from government and church records to personal journals, diaries and correspondence.

Containing more than 180 volumes in total, the six series cover all periods from the 12th to the 20th centuries and a very wide range of topics, including:

  • Society
  • Economics
  • Law
  • Politics
  • Diplomatic, military and religious history
  • Farming
  • Gardening
  • The joys of good housekeeping.

Historical themes and trends

Historical themes in these volumes vary hugely, due to the society's remit to publish sources relating to all of Scotland's history.

Each volume is published on its own merits, so there is no thematic consistency within each series.

Among the many themes covered in the volumes you will find, for example:

  • The Wars of Independence
  • The Reformation
  • The Union of the Crowns and of 1707
  • Jacobitism
  • Scotland's relationship to the slave trade
  • Responses to the French Revolution
  • Reform of the Poor Law in the 1840s.

The Scottish History Society also regularly publishes miscellany volumes, in which shorter transcriptions are grouped together. This allows the society to publish smaller pieces of research.

The society's publications broadly reflect the changing trends within Scottish history, from early coverage of the making of the nation, to later considerations of what might be termed 'history from below'. Social and economic history, particularly of the modern period, also features.

Beyond Scotland

Although the society's publications relate to Scotland and Scottish people, many volumes contain content of relevance beyond Scotland.

The remit to make available sources that are otherwise hard to access means that there is also a focus on the lives and experiences of Scots overseas — from the Americas to Europe.

For the same reason, they also contain records of visitors of other nationalities to Scotland, commenting on what they found there, from 18th-century agricultural improvers to 19th-century tourist travellers.

Access to volumes

The full range of these volumes is available to consult in the National Library of Scotland's reading rooms in Edinburgh.

Six series of digitised volumes are available online, the most recent volume having been published in 2012.

Title page of book with Scottish History Society crest

Title page of 'Mary Queen of Scots and the Babington Plot', published by the society in 1922 [volume 3, series 3].

Printed page listing names of prisoners captured after the 1745 Jacobite rising

Page showing the names and fate of prisoners captured after the 1745 Jacobite rising. From 'Prisoners of the '45' [volume 14, Series 3].

Header image: Detail from one of the manuscripts transcribed and published by the Scottish History Society.