Papers of Arthur Argo and Arthur Barron

Scope and Content

GB 231 MS 3088 Manuscript papers and printed books relating to Gavin Greig and the ballad tradition of the North-East of Scotland, from the library of Arthur Argo, c 1854 - c 1979. The collection contains some original manuscripts of Gavin Greig, including commonplace books, 1854 and 1880; manuscripts of his plays, Mains's Wooin, Dominie, and Prince Charlie, (n.d.); and a first proof copy, with author's corrections, of Logie o'Buchan: an Aberdeen Pastoral Comedy, 1899. Printed books and papers include a wide range of works on the Scottish ballad tradition by authors such as Gavin Greig, John Fullerton, William Temple, John Skinner, Duncan Grant, Peter F. Anson, Peter Buchan, F.J. Child, W. Christie, W.A.G. Farquhar, R. Ford, W. Gunnyon, J. Johnson, E. MacColl, P. Seeger, D. MacLeod, J. Maidment, and W. Thomson, published between 1868 - 1977. Arthur Argo's own papers, dating mostly from the 1960s and 1970s, comprise correspondence, scripts and related papers, compiled mostly for broadcasts and lectures on ballads and folk tales.

GB 231 MS 3124 This collection contains a further, miscellaneous selection of Arthur Argo's papers, and a single poem, T'Auld Jock, written by Arthur Barron. The papers of Arthur Argo comprise scripts of Come Gie's a Song: Some Folk Music Selected and Introduced by Arthur Argo, broadcast on Radio Scotland and Radio 4 between Jan and Jul 1964; photographs of folk artists, n.d.; and a variety of printed papers, including Folksongs of Aberdeenshire collected by the Rev James B. Duncan, edited by P.W. Shuldham-Shaw (The English Folk Dance and Song Society, 1967); Gavin Greig, Mains's Woo'n: A Drama of Northern Rural Life (1909); Aberdeen Folksong Club Festival programmes, 1960s; and odd copies of Folk Notes, Tocher, and Scotia Review.

Administrative / Biographical History

Arthur Barron wrote in Scots. His daughter married Arthur Argo (1935/36 - 1981), great grandson of Gavin Greig (1856 - 1914), schoolmaster at Whitehill, New Deer, Aberdeenshire, who, from 1876 until his death, worked with James Duncan (1848 - 1917), minister of the United Free Church at Lynturk, Aberdeenshire, gathering and recording the ancient ballad tradition of the North East of Scotland. Their work culminated in the important Greig-Duncan folk song collection, which is deposited in the University of Aberdeen (GB 231 MS 701 - 790 and GB 231 MS 0998) and published, in 8 volumes, by the School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh.

Arthur Argo (1935/36 - 1981) continued the interests of his great grandfather, Gavin Greig, promoting the work of Scottish folk artists and their music, and becoming acknowledged as one of the foremost authorities on Scottish traditional folk music. After working as a journalist, from 1966 he worked for BBC Scotland, from 1973 as a producer with Radio Scotland. He produced the long running radio series Fit Like Folk?, a folk music programme, and The Reel Blend, a Scottish music series. He was president of the Aberdeen Folksong Club.


None observed - listing of GB 231 MS 3124 still in progress

Access Information

Open, subject to signature accepting conditions of use at reader registration sheet

Acquisition Information

GB 231 MS 3088 deposited in the University in Jun 1981, by Mr and Mrs John Argo. Additional deposits received Apr 1983, Jan 1984, Mar 1984, and 1986. GB 231 MS 3088 deposited in the University in Jun 1981, by Mr and Mrs John Argo. Additional deposits received Apr 1983, Jan 1984, Mar 1984, and 1986. GB 231 MS 3124 deposited between Mar 1983 and Mar 1985, by Mrs N. Argo.

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list for GB 231 MS 3088 available in the Reading Room, Special Libraries and Archives, University of Aberdeen (e-mail:

Very brief collection level descriptions for both collections available on Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online

Alternative Form Available

No copies known

Conditions Governing Use

Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation.

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Special Libraries and Archives (e-mail: and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures


No accruals expected

Related Material

Greig-Duncan folk song collection and related material collected by William Walker (GB 231 MS 701 - 790; 998; and 2326)


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original