Founded as one of several branches of the 'Egyptian Research Student Association' around 1906. These were initially established in many cities, mostly connected with the British School of Archaeology in Egypt to which they contributed, and by which it was supplied with travelling series of small antiquities sent on loan to the various branches. The ERSA was spearheaded initially by Mrs. Sefton-Jones, 18, Bedford Square, London and reports on the activities of the various ERSAs were published in Flinders Petrie's magazine 'Ancient Egypt' which was begun in the First World War. Glasgow's ERSA was one of the most active, particularly between 1912 and 1954, often collaborating with the one in Edinburgh. One of its most important figures was Janet May Buchanan. Other ERSAs were less successful and few were active beyond 1914 following the disruption of World War 1.
Janet May Buchanan was killed in a car accident in December 1912, The two branches of the ERSA (Edinburgh and Glasgow) decided to create the Janet May Buchanan Memorial Fund to purchase Egyptian objects for display in Glasgow Museums’ public gallery.