James Alexander Henryson-Caird was born in February 1847, the eldest son of Sir James Caird and Margaret Henryson. Sir James was a land-owner, farmer, agronomist and well-known advocate of free trade who sat in the House of Commons from 1857 until 1865. In that year he resigned to serve on the Inclosure Commission, which subsequently became the Land Commission and then the Land Department of the Board of Trade, with Caird as its director.
James Alexander Caird (he only adopted the surname Henryson-Caird in 1897) married Alice Mona Alison in 1877. James, like his father, took a great interest in the management of the family estate at Cassencary but Mona Caird spent most of her time in London. She published several novels as well as a number of radical essays on marriage and the place of women in society. She supported the suffragettes and was also strong in her views against vivisection. They had one son, Alison James Henryson-Caird, born in 1884 (in later life he was known as Aliston or Alister).
James died in December 1921. Many of the valuable items from his library were auctioned by Sotheby’s in November 1922.