The Adam Smith Tartan

By Robert Wright

For the RES Newsletter, January 2012, Online Issue 1

The Scottish Economics Society has created a new corporate tartan that honours the great Scottish economist and philosopher, Adam Smith. This note was prepared by Robert Wright, a past President of the Society and Keeper of the Tartan.

Adam Smith was born to Margaret Douglas in Kirkcaldy, Fife in 1723. His father was a lawyer and civil servant. He married Margaret Douglas in 1720, but died shortly before their son was born. Adam lived with Margaret Douglas for most of his life and never married. He is best known for his book, published in 1776, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, regarded by many as a classic of modern economics, particularly beloved by free market advocates. He became a founding member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and died in the city on 17 July 1790.

In honour of his memory and for the principles upon which the Society was re-founded over 50 years ago, we have created a new tartan design. It combines the Ancient Smith tartan (dating from 1886) with the Douglas Hunting tartan (dating from pre-1819), thereby also honouring Margaret Douglas’s important role in raising Adam Smith.

The Scottish Economics Society ‘Adam Smith’ Tartan was officially launched at a conference of the Society, during a special event hosted by Dewar’s World of Whisky, Aberfeldy Distillery, Perthshire on Tuesday April 5th, 2011. The new tartan was designed by Dr David Wishart, Honorary Fellow of the School of Management, University of St Andrews. It was registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans on October 6th, 2010 Registration Number 10,290.

The tartan was woven and manufactured into ties and scarves for members of the Society by Lochcarron of Scotland, Selkirk. If you are a member of the Society, and would like to purchase a tie or scarf, post a cheque for £15 made out to the ‘Scottish Economics Society’ to Professor Robert E Wright, Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde, 130 Rottenrow, Glasgow, G4 0GE. If you are not a member of the Society, membership details can be found at the Society’s website:

Editor’s note

For technical reasons we cannot reproduce a full-colour picture of the tartan here. However, it can be seen at the Society’s website:

From issue no. 156, January 2012, p.24

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