Welcome to

Friends of the Argyll Papers

The family and estate archives of the Campbell Family, earls and dukes of Argyll.


Donate to Friends of the Argyll Papers


The Friends of the Argyll Papers was established to support the development of the family and estate archive of the Campbell family, dukes of Argyll, and to promote its use and enjoyment by a wide audience.

The Argyll Papers have been described as one of the most important private archives in Britain (Professor Allan Macinnes, 2014). It is a rich resource for Scottish and British history from the thirteenth to the twenty-first centuries and attracts visitors from all over the world, researching a wide range of subjects including family and local history, Gaelic studies, place names, military history, political history, economic and social history, agriculture and industry, architecture and more.

The Argyll Papers are the family and estate archive of the Duke of Argyll. Dating from the 13th century, the archive records 700 years of the family’s participation in Scottish, British and international events, their private lives and interests and the management of their extensive estates.

The Argyll estates covered most of Argyllshire, including the islands of Tiree, Iona and Mull, as well as the Lordship of Campbell in Clackmannanshire, Stirling and Fife.  

Most of the people living on the Argyll estates were not Campbells: many other Highland names appear in the records for Argyll and the islands, and lowland names predominate in the records of the Lordship of Campbell in central Scotland.

It is the records of the management of the estates, dating from the late 18th century, which are most useful for family history research.  The estate records detail:

  • the people living on the land and their families (estate censuses, rentals);
  • how and where they lived and worked (estate surveys, petitions and memorials, correspondence, reports, accounts); and
  • give details of their houses and occupations (surveys, building plans).

Why we need your help

Caring for an archive of this size and importance, and making it available to researchers, is an enormous responsibility which is both costly and time-consuming. The archive does not receive any public funding, but Friends’ memberships and donations provide a valuable small regular income which contributes towards collection care and improvements to the research facilities. The Friends also support volunteering opportunities in the archive and fund-raising initiatives to help with conservation and cataloguing. You can find out more about what we do and how you can get involved by following the links on our website.

Using the archive

The Argyll Papers are open to individual researchers and for group visits and tours.

For information about accessing the archives, please click here.

For more information about the contents of the archive see the Collection Description.

Events for Friends

A new series of Seminars has been arranged for 2021/22. The seminars are open to members and non-members (although non-members are asked to make a donation to the Friends). The programme is available here.


We offer school visits, resources, internships and work experience placements.


Support the preservation of this amazing archive.


We support genealogical, local history and academic research. Book an appointment to visit.

Venues On View of Museum

The latest exhibitions across our diffrent locations. Have fun together in the Museum.

Friends of the Argyll Papers is a Scottish Charity SC045835