It was the first really hot summers day when I set out on the 350 mile, 6 hour round trip from Raiders HQ to the home of Richard D.Jackson in Edinburgh. Regular readers will remember that I never actually met Dr Islay Murray Donaldson, who bequeathed me her full Crockett library and research archive, so I wasn’t taking any chances with Richard. He was hale and hearty and welcoming and an absolute fount of knowledge about Crockett, so we had a wonderful time chatting. His archive is the culmination of many years of research into Crockett’s life and writing which he cheerfully admits was for a time something of an obsession.
Richard has written several introductions about Crockett for the Kennedy and Boyd ‘Kailyard Authors’ series (I’ll never understand why you’d call a series this if you were trying to promote the authors – talk about ‘toxic brand’. Jackson has also given numerous informative talks about Crockett to a variety of groups over the years.
The time, love and money he’s spent on Crockett over the years mean that he deserves huge credit and I think it’s right to say that he’s the leading living authority on Crockett’s life and work – he certainly has plenty to teach me! He’s a self-effacing man however and I’m working on him to try and get him to accept the only honour I feel we can bestow on him, that of Honorary President of The Galloway Raiders.
Richard D.Jackson has also done work on James Hogg, on R.L.Stevenson and the lesser known Janet Stewart. He’s a veritable treasure chest of information on Scots writers and I’m privileged to have met him and honoured to be the proud recipient and curator of his archive. I only hope we can do his work justice in the months and years to come.
With the combination of Richard Jackson and Islay Murray Donaldson’s research archives I’d suggest that The Galloway Raiders now holds the most substantial research archive on S.R.Crockett’s life and works and it will be a pleasure and a privilege (as well as a lot of work) to make it available as widely as possible. That’s our goal. Our volunteer archivists have started work on the boxes – opening which is like opening a treasure chest of goodies – every item is liberally sprinkled with gold-dust.