James Caird collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Caird to Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton regarding the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1916.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Key Caird was born on 7 January 1837 in Dundee. He became a jute manufacturer and made a substantial fortune by introducing new technology into his jute mills in Ashton and Craigie, near Dundee. A generous benefactor and philanthropist, he helped to finance the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1916 (leader Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton), causing Shackleton to name for him the lifeboat in which he and his companions made their epic sixteen-day voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia. He was knighted and created a baronet in 1913. He died on 9 March 1916.


The correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN 0521309034 and James Caird Society and Who was who, 1916-1928, Adam & Charles Black, London (1947) and Geography at Edinburgh

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible.