The Archive Catalogue of the Society of Writers to HM Signet, Edinburgh
The Archive comprises the institutional records and papers of the Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet in Edinburgh, the largest and oldest private corporate body of solicitors in Scotland. These records map the development and activity of the Society, its officers and members, and the various charitable and educational institutions in which it has been involved.
It forms part of the wider Signet Library, which the Society founded in 1722, and this archive catalogue complements and should be used in conjunction with the central Signet Library catalogue. Whereas this Archive Catalogue maps the life and activities of the Society, the Signet Library Catalogue describes the Society's collecting of books and manuscripts. There are points of crossover: the Society's collections of law court papers are described by the Signet Library Catalogue, but the papers of law firms and solicitors in the Society's possession, along with its collections of artifacts and ephemera appear in this Archive Catalogue. (Likewise, the papers and documents relating to the administration of the Signet Library are present in the Archive Catalogue and not in the Signet Library Catalogue).
The written records in this archive commence with the opening of the Society's first sederunt book in 1594, although the Society itself has medieval origins and was a founding constituent of the College of Justice in Scotland in 1532. Alongside minute and sederunt books, the archive comprises financial records, letters and papers of office holders, records of property ownership and charitable administration, the records of the social life of the Society and the administrative records of the Signet Library.