Papers of Professor Robert Wallace (1853-1939)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The papers of Professor Wallace include a collection of letters to President Wilson of the United States by Wallace, at shelfmark Gen. 867F. These are contained in a binding along with numerous selected newspaper cuttings of the period. Included are letters of acknowledgement sent by Private Secretaries instructed from the White House. At shelfmark Gen. 554-555 are bundles of notes both manuscript and typescript, leaflets, pamphlets, and cuttings on agriculture between 1900 and 1920.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Wallace was born into a farming family at Wallace Hall, Glencairn, Dumfries and Galloway, on 24 June 1853. He was educated at Tynron School and Hutton Academy. He studied at Edinburgh University and was awarded the degree of M.A. in December 1920, and thereafter managed farms for his father and farmed for himself and his brother. He was interested in every aspect of farm livestock recognising the importance of scientific agriculture, and throughout his career he sought to improve the standard of agriculture in Britain and the Commonwealth. In 1882 he was appointed Professor of Agriculture at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester and then in 1885 he returned to Edinburgh University as Professor of Agriculture and Rural Economy. In the early years of his office a course in Forestry was added to the curriculum for students, then a course in Agricultural Entomology, and in 1892 and an Ordinary B.Sc. was instituted. He also established the Edinburgh Incorporated School of Agriculture and this led to the official recognition of Edinburgh by the then Board of Agriculture as an agricultural teaching centre. Later on, the East of Scotland College of Agriculture, founded in 1907, merged with the University School to form the basis of the modern School of Agriculture. Wallace occupied the Chair of Agriculture and Rural Economy until 1922. In that year too, an Honours degree in Agriculture was instituted. He was also the Garton Lecturer in Colonial and Indian Agriculture, 1900-1922. In the pursuit of his study and interests, he travelled to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Southern Africa and Malaysia, as well as the United States of America, Egypt, Greece, Mexico, and Japan. Towards the end of his career, between 1914 and 1917, Wallace engaged in correspondence with Woodrow Wilson, President of the USA. The subject of his concern was the treatment of prisoners and hostages in Germany. His publications include  Farm live stock of Great Britain (1889),  The rural economy and agriculture of Australia and New Zealand (1891),  Argentine shows and live stock (1904), and,  Heather and moor burning for grouse and sheep (1917). Professor Robert Wallace died on 17 January 1939.

Conditions Governing Access

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Note

The biographical history was compiled using the following material: (1) The university portraits, Second series, compiled by John H. Burnett [et al.], Edinburgh: Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd., 1986. (2) Who was who, Vol.3. 1929-1940, 2nd edition (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1967). (3) Obituary notices, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Vol.59. 1938-1939, pp.284-285 (Edinburgh: Neill and Co., 1940).

Other Finding Aids

An important finding aid is the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives. Additions to the typed slips in sheaf binders were made until 1987.

Related Material

The Index to Manuscripts shows a reference to a letter from Professor Wallace to Sir C. J. Pearson at Gen. 756, no.285.

Additional Information

The biographical history was compiled using the following material: (1) The university portraits, Second series, compiled by John H. Burnett [et al.], Edinburgh: Eyre & Spottiswoode Ltd., 1986. (2) Who was who, Vol.3. 1929-1940, 2nd edition (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1967). (3) Obituary notices, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Vol.59. 1938-1939, pp.284-285 (Edinburgh: Neill and Co., 1940).

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