Grant (1930) Social and Economic Development of Scotland Before 1603


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Grant, I. F. [Isabel Francis]. Social and Economic Development of Scotland Before 1603. (Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1930)

Octavo. xii, 594 pages. Hardcover. Bound in blue cloth-covered boards, stamped in gilt on spine and in blind frame on covers.

Condition: Very Good+. Gilt is quite bright, binding tight. Spine ends slightly bumped. Small stamp on title page. Endpapers show some discoloration.

Isabel Frances Grant MBE (1887–1983) was a Scottish ethnographer, historian, collector and pioneering founder of the Highland Folk Museum.

Grant was born in Edinburgh on 21 July 1887, but grew up with a strong sense of belonging to the Scottish Highlands and especially the area around Badenoch and Strathspey, with its ancient links to the Clan Grant. A family member of the Grants of Tullochgorm, and daughter of a colonel in the Seaforth Highlanders, she was sent to London and the care of her grandfather Field Marshal Sir Patrick Grant, Goldstick-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria, and his daughter Miss Frances Gough Grant – known as ‘Aunt Fan’ – when her parents were posted to India. It was Aunt Fan who accompanied Elsie on early visits to museums and art galleries in London, inspiring a life-long interest in material culture and collecting. Later visits to folk museums in Scandinavia encouraged Elsie to dream of a museum for the Highlands and Islands that would preserve and promote a better appreciation of the rapidly disappearing material cultures and Gaelic traditions of northern and western Scotland.

Grant’s writing career was encouraged by the economist John Maynard Keynes, for whom she worked as a researcher. Keynes published a number of articles by Grant in The Economic Review from 1912 onwards – with two appearing under her own name in 1926 and 1928. A Keynesian approach to social and economic history is evident in her first book, Every-Day Life on an Old Highland Farm, 1769–82, published in 1924. Books such as The Social and Economic Development of Scotland before 1603 (1930) and The Lordship of the Isles (1935) established Grant as a respected voice in the fields of ethnography and social and family history in Scotland and an important contributor to the cultural renewal and optimistic sense of national identity that was reawakened in her country as the modern Scottish Renaissance grew and developed during the 1930s and the decades after the Second World War. Her work was key in helping to establish the Scottish Highlands as a serious subject for modern scholarship. Other publications included: Everyday Life in Old Scotland (1931); In the Tracks of Montrose (1931); The Economic History of Scotland (1930); The Clan Grant: the Development of a Clan (1955); The MacLeods: the History of a Clan, 1200–1956 (1959); the magisterial and hugely influential Highland Folk Ways (1961); The Clan MacLeod: with their Rock-built Fortress they have Endured (1966); Angus Og of the Isles (1969). – Wikipedia