Duncan McKercher (1796 - 1873) Duncan McKercher (1796 - 1873), alias the Athole Paganini, taught fiddle to James Stewart Robertson (1823 - 1896), first president of the Edinburgh Highland Reel and Strathspey Society and author of The Athole Collection (1884; 2nd edn 1961; 3rd edn Balnain House Trust, 1996). He composed and played music for the fiddle, some of his work appearing in print, though no further details have been established at this time.
Alexander McLaren (? fl post 1873) No biographical details have been established for Alexander McLaren (? fl post 1873), of Pitlochry, Perthshire, who is believed to have owned this manuscript after Duncan McKercher's death, and after whom it is named (see Custodial History, below, for further details).
John Murdoch Henderson (1902 - 1972) John Murdoch Henderson, son of Charles Henderson, farmer, and Mary Jane Murdoch, was born in New Deer on 31 March 1902, and graduated from the University of Aberdeen, MA 1926. He taught for several years in the south of Scotland, before returning to Aberdeen where he taught science and mathematics at Frederick Street, and latterly, Ruthrieston School. A gifted composer, and an authority on Scottish fiddle music, he wrote The Flowers of Scottish Melody: A First Companion to the Scottish Violinist and Pianist (Glasgow: Bayley & Ferguson, 1935), and arranged J. Scott Skinner's The Scottish Music Maker Skinner: a choice selection of strathspeys, Scots reels, schottisches, double jigs, waltz tunes, song airs, pastorals, marches, quicksteps, hornpipes ... arranged for the violin (Glasgow: Bayley & Ferguson, 1957). He was also a prolific collector of music for the fiddle and pipes, and during his life made several significant manuscript deposits to the University of Aberdeen.
His printed music collection was bequeathed to the National Library of Scotland in 1975/6, and duplicates from this collection transferred to Aberdeen University, where they form the University's John Murdoch Henderson Collection. A further collection of his papers was deposited more recently in the North East Folklore Archive, Aden Country Park, Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire, by his family. See Related Units of Description for further details.