Letters of James Duff (1729-1809), 2nd Earl of Fife

Scope and Content

The collection is composed of: a letter relating to the appointment of Clerk to the Commission of Peace for the County of Elgin, possibly 1787; and, letter on his being named as a Trustee with Mr. Chambers.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Duff was born on 29 September 1729. He was the second son of William Duff (d. 1763), Earl of Fife, Lord Braco of Kilbryde, Viscount Macduff, in the Peerage of Ireland. Like his father before him he was MP for Banff, elected first in 1754, then re-elected in 1761, 1768, 1774, and 1780. In 1784 he was MP for Elgin. He succeeded to the Earldom in 1763 and became a British Peer in 1790, as Baron Fife. He held the title of Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire and he founded the town and harbour of Macduff. Duff was well-known as an agricultural authority and breeder of cattle. James Duff, 2nd Earl of Fife, Baron Fife, died at Whitehall, London, on 24 January 1809.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Among miscellaneous letters of Scottish interest, purchased from E. Hall, December 1976, Accession no. E76.53.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Stephen, Leskie. and Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol. 6. Drant-Finan. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1908.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show various references to Duff related material (check the Indexes for more details): letters to Sir R. Gordon of Gordonstoun, 4th Baronet, and to Sir R. Gordon of Gordonstoun, 5th Baronet, 1763-1776, at La.II.498; letters (3) to unnamed correspondents, 1785-1787, at La.II.509; letter to Sir W. Gordon, 12 July 1790, at La.II.498; and, letter to G. J. Thorkelin, 1791, at La.III.379/300. In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes several locations of Duff related material.