David Rutherford Adams was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1887, the son of a timber merchant. He attended Glasgow University as a medical student between 1904 and 1910, where he met and formed a lifelong friendship with fellow medical student Osborne Henry Mavor.
Osborne Henry Mavor CBE was born in Glasgow in 1888, graduating from Glasgow University with a medical degree in 1913. He served with the Royal Army Medical Corps in both World Wars and acted as a consultant physician to the Victoria Infirmary, as well as lecturing at the Anderson College of Glasgow, having settled in Glasgow in 1919, and marrying in 1923.
Mavor became better known however as a playwright and administrator, playing a key role in the promotion of the Arts in Scotland. He was chairman of what later became the Scottish Arts Council, and founded the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre in 1943. He was also instrumental in founding the first college of drama in Scotland in 1950, and worked hard to promote events such as the Edinburgh Festival.
Mavor's first play, The Sunlight Sonata , (produced in 1928) was written under the pseudonym of Mary Henderson. He adopted the pseudonym of 'James Bridie' in his subsequent works such as The Switchback (1929), and What It Is To Be Young (1929). The Anatomist , produced in 1930, and based on the lives of nineteenth century vivisectionist Dr. Robert Knox, and the body-snatchers Burke and Hare, was his first major success. This success continued throughout the 1930s and 40s with, amongst others, Jonah and the Whale (1932), Susannah and the Elders (1937), Mr Bolfry (1943), The Forrigan Reel (1944) and The Queen's Comedy (1950).
Mavor wrote over 40 plays in his lifetime. In 1939 he was awarded an honorary LL.D from Glasgow University, and received his CBE in 1946. He died in Edinburgh in 1951.