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 Archives
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).

Become a Friend

Do you have Campbell ancestry and want to help preserve your family archive? Are you interested in history and opportunities to connect with like-minded people? Have you used the Argyll Papers and wish to support the archivist’s and volunteers’ work? Whatever your reason for joining, by becoming a Friend you will help to secure the future of this very special archive and become part of a friendly, interesting and dedicated group of people.

Benefits of Membership

  • A regular newsletter with contributions from Friends, volunteers and researchers
  • Volunteering opportunities – see our Volunteering page for details
  • Social and educational events – see Events page for details
  • Sharing your interests and knowledge with others
  • 20% discount for Inveraray Castle admissions, tea-room and shop

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.

Support the preservation of this amazing archive, become a Friend of the Argyll Papers.

Friends’ News

Palaeography Group Online Workshop

Monday 11th December 2023 – 6.00pm.

Alison Diamond (Archivist)


Seminar series 2023/24

The Friends of the Argyll Papers are delighted to introduce a series of online seminars informed by research undertaken in the archive, to take place on Zoom. All seminars are scheduled for a Friday, at various start times to allow Friends around the world to participate.

Friday 8th December 7.30pm

Rudolf Erich Raspe’s Marvellous Travels in Scotland: A survey in 1789 of the Duke of Argyll’s mineral resources by the geologist and author of ‘Baron Munchhausen’s Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia’

Dr.Sheila Dickson

Sheila Dickson is Professor of German in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, College of Arts and Humanities, University of Glasgow. Her main research projects have focussed on the literature and culture of the Enlightenment and Romantic periods in German-speaking countries. She has edited one volume of a 40-volume critical edition of the complete works and letters of Achim von Arnim, a German Romantic writer, and is now a Main Editor of the project as a whole. She is co-editor of a digital critical edition of the first German journal of psychology – Magazine for Empirical Psychology, (1783-1793) – which consists of medical case histories submitted by lay observers, doctors, patients and creative writers (http://www.mze.gla.ac.uk/). She has translated into English a short story by Achim von Arnim that was set in Inveraray and Gretna Green, inspired by the writer’s visit to Scotland in the early 1800s


Webpage: http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/mlc/staff/sheiladickson/.

Rudolf Erich Raspe (1736-1794) is known today – if at all – as the author of Baron Munchhausen’s Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia (1785), but during his life he made a name for himself in Germany through empirical investigations and publications in the fields of geology and mineralogy. From 1775 he worked in the British Isles as a prospector and consultant on behalf of landowners, and in 1789 he undertook an overview of the Duke of Argyll’s quarries and mines. Using letters from the Inveraray archive, the talk will present details of Raspe’s reports on the Duke’s properties which, in contrast to his Münchhausen reputation as an impostor, show the professional expertise behind his storytelling talent and colourful personality, and provide an example of the close links between Germany and Scotland during this period.

The seminar will be given on Zoom.

Attendance at the seminar is free to members of the Friends. Non-members are asked to make a £5 donation to the Friends at Donate to Friends of the Argyll Papers (enthuse.com).

Please book your place for the seminar by emailing Alison at: friendsoftheargyllpapers@gmail.com

Please feel free to share this invitation with friends, family and colleagues.

For the dates of all the seminars follow this link. Seminars 2023-2024


Welcome to the Archives by the Duke of Argyll

Using the archive

The Argyll Papers are open to individual researchers and for group visits and tours. We support genealogical, local history and academic research. Please book an appointment to visit. We offer school visits, resources, internships, and work experience placements.

For information about accessing the archives, please click on the image.

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

Venues On View of Museum

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

   Updated 7/12/2023

© Friends of the Argyll Papers 2022
Friends of the Argyll Papers is a Scottish Charity SC045835