Heritage and Preservation


November 19th, 2020 (New York, NY)

On this the 46th Anniversary of the first New York Scotland Week organized by the American Scottish Foundation in New York during November 11 - 19 1974, the Foundation proudly announces the deeding of a sizable trove of letters, photographs, manuscripts (unpublished), books, newspaper clippings, documents relating to the work of our founders Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton and his wife, Lady Natalie Douglas-Hamilton .

The donation includes several pictures and prints and two magnificent portraits of Lord Malcolm and Lady Natalie.

ASF offers special thanks to Lady Natalie’s grandchildren and her heirs, who made this possible. Decades after Lord Malcolm’s death in 1964 and seven years after Lady Natalie’s passing in 2013, their legacy literally lives on in the work of the American Scottish Foundation.

George Mead, the Executor of the Mead Estate, and Lady Malcolm’s grandson coordinated the gift on behalf of the Estate. “When we started , we found books on Scottish history and culture ,which were clearly part of the early DNA of the Foundation. Then, we located additional trunks filled with correspondence, photographs and writings by Lord Malcolm and my grandmother.

We were astounded at the amount of information which was preserved from the early days of the Foundation. It provides a great chance to see the energy, vision and dedication which was part of the early days of the organization. It was only natural l these resources should be gifted to the Foundation, as part of its legacy. I and my sister, Libby Stowell and my brother Malcolm, are delighted this came together. In challenging times like these, it is easy to lose sight of the cultural foundations that are our anchor.“

Lord and Lady Malcolm Douglas Hamilton had an immense impact on public life, both in the United States and United Kingdom.

Prior to moving to the United States Lord Malcolm was MP for Inverness and a highly decorated aviator with the RAF. Once In the United States, Lord and Lady Malcolm Douglas Hamilton were very active in issues of national security and were particularly active in the anti-Communist movement, as well as efforts to establish meaningful lines of friendship and cooperation between the U.S. and Scotland.

In 1955 Lord Malcolm set up the Highland Fund in the US which in 1956 led to the formation of The American-Scottish Foundation.

The Douglas-Hamiltons and others who shared their interest in Scottish-American relations, began projects and events that firmly established ties across the Atlantic during the challenging post-War years.

From the original by-laws, the ASF can see that our mission remains unchanged – then as now, we serve as a bridge between our two great countries. As Michael Reid who is leading on the review of the archival materials explains:

“The Douglas-Hamiltons also were central to the planning and development of ‘House of Good Taste’ designed by Edward Durrell Stone for the 1964 World’s Fair, which was nearly ready to open when Lord Malcolm disappeared in a tragic plane accident at far too early an age. Documents surrounding the opening and planning are within the collection.

“Lady Natalie spearheaded wide scale efforts to establish Bundles for Britain, the largest voluntary war effort with 900 branches throughout the US. The effort helped establish real bonds of friendship and support from North American donors to citizens in the United Kingdom who had decades of rationing and hardship from the late 1930’s through the 1960’s”.

“Viewers of hit film 30 Charing Cross Road witnessed the longevity of the program and the deep personal connections it engendered between Americans and Britons.

“The archive includes the records of this remarkable organization, along with other NGOs for which the Douglas-Hamiltons were prime movers. In recognition of her contributions to Great Britain, Lady Hamilton was made a Commander of the British Empire ( CBE).

Quote from Lady Douglas-Hamilton's FBI record

“The anti-Communist efforts by the Douglas-Hamiltons were also of historic importance. Lady Natalie founded Common Cause, whose anti-Soviet activities earned her repeated denunciations from Pravda.“

As the ASF team sifts through the documents and letters, we will better understand their relations with several other anti-Soviet groups.

From Presidential letters, to advising transition teams for incoming Presidents, their circle of associates included everyone from power broker lawyer Louis Nizer to Hollywood producer Ross Hunter to ‘I Remember Mama’ and Broadway and film star Peggy Wood.

The American Scottish Foundation recently moved to a new home allowing for the establishment of a small library. In the coming months ASF looks forward to mounting focused exhibits.

Plans are under way to mount a recreation of the tartans exhibit organized previously by Lady Natalie. This will go on view in April 2021 to commemorate National Tartan Day, the 65th Anniversary of the American Scottish Foundation and to celebrate this the Mead bequest enhancing the records and archives of the Foundation.

Because of the size and importance of this archive, the ASF team involved in cataloguing and preserving the materials will – over the next several months – announce particularly interesting discoveries in this unique set of materials.

As Kenneth Donnelly, the American Scottish Foundation’s Chairman notes: “The Board of the American Scottish Foundation, and the membership, are deeply grateful to the Mead family for the wonderful gift of artifacts and memorabilia describing the programs and contributions of the ASF dating back to the founding of the institution enhancing our archive collection.

We accept this gift from Lady (Natalie) Malcolm Douglas Hamilton’s grandchildren with great pride and passion and look to conserve and share the rich history in relation to Scotland and to also her own additional involvement in international relations.

The Foundations archive is greatly enhanced by this wonderful gift of materials which will help us in promoting the transatlantic partnership of America and Scotland.”

If you would like to find out more,please visit our website or email us at americanscottishfoundation@gmail.com