The pre-1925 Advocates' Manuscripts series holds many individual historical documents and literary manuscripts of national importance.
In more recent times the collections have expanded from this manuscript base to create an archive repository with many major collections, mostly dating from the late 17th to the 20th century.
They include papers of major politicians or military leaders, and other public figures of international significance, including writers, philosophers and historians, scientists, engineers, missionaries and explorers. For further details see our collections pages.
The National Library of Scotland is not only the custodian of older heritage collections.
In addition to the Church of Scotland's overseas missions archive, we also hold large contemporary institutional archives from a wide range of modern Scottish cultural, political, scientific, sporting and trade union organisations.
For our collections strategy, see the corporate documents section.