Papers of Archibald Allan Bowman, 1883-1936, philosopher, Professor of Moral Philosophy, University of Glasgow, Scotland, 1926-1936

Scope and Content

  • Personal papers 1889-1949;
  • Army career records 1910-1919;
  • Lecture and teaching records 1906-1936;
  • Publications 1907-1959;
  • Family correspondence 1907-1958;
  • Other family papers 1825-1976;
  • Photographs c1860s-1981.

Administrative / Biographical History

Archibald Allan Bowman  was born in Beith, Ayrshire, Scotland, in  1883  , the eldest son of an Evangelical Union Minister. He attended Speirs School, Beith, and Beith Academy before going on to the  University of Glasgow , Scotland, where he studied between  1901 and 1905  . In  1900  , his father died, causing the family considerable financial hardship. They moved to Glasgow where he was obliged to tutor pupils as his contribution to family finances, but despite this, his undergraduate career was distinguished, and he graduated with First Class Honours in Philosophy and Second Class Honours in Classics, in  1905  . In addition to class prizes in Logic, English, Greek and Political Economy, he won the Edward Caird Medal in Moral Philosophy (  1904-1905  ); the University Silver Medal in Mental Philosophy (  1903-1904  ); and Coulter Prize in English (  1903-1904  ) and Classics (  1901-1902  ).

On graduation, he was awarded the Euing Fellowship in Philosophy and a year later, in  1906,  the George A Clark and Ferguson Scholarships. At the same time, he was appointed Assistant to the Professor of Logic at the University of Glasgow and Lecturer in Logic at  Queen Margaret College, Glasgow , the University's Womens' Department, an appointment which lasted six years. During the summers of  1907-1909  he studied abroad, undertaking courses under Windelbond at Heidelberg, Gemany, and under Riehl, Paulsen, Stomf and Hamack at Berlin, Germany.

In  1912  , A A Bowman was offered the Chair of Logic at Princeton University, Princeton, USA. During the first three years, he taught large, graduating classes in Logic, Psychology and General Philosophy, a class in advanced Logic for third year students and one for the fourth year students on the History of Greek Philosophy. He also conducted post-graduate courses on Aristotle's Metaphysics and Hegel's Logic on alternate years.

When the 1914-1918 World War broke out in 1914,  Archibald Allan Bowman  applied for leave of absence in order to join the British Army, which was granted in  1915  . He served both in Britain and France, belonging to the Highland Light Infantry and being seconded to the 52nd Training Battalion at Windygates, Fife, Scotland. He was taken prisoner at the Battle of Lys, France, in  April 1918  , and spent some months in captivity as a prisoner of war, finally ending up at Hesepe, Germany. After repatriation, and a period in the Patent Office with the Army of Occupation, A A Bowman returned to Princeton in  September 1919  and conducted classes in the following: History of Greek Philosophy; History of Modern Philosophy; Fundamental Problems; post-graduate courses on Plato's Republio, Categories and Nicomachean Ethics; Hegel's Logic; Kant's Critique of Pure Reason; and a course of public lectures on Problems of Philosophy. He also inaugurated a course on The Ethics of Christianity.

In  1926  he was appointed to the Chair of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow, where he remained until his death in  1936  .

After his capture during WW1,  Archibald Allan Bowman  felt very strongly about the League of Nations, and wrote many talks which he delivered to a variety of clubs and societies, to further the League's cause. A strong advocate of Adult Education, and Temperance, he undertook an enormous schedule of talks and addresses, which placed a great strain on his health.

Archibald Allan Bowman  married Mabel Stewart in  1912  , and had a daughter, Maisie, in  1915  , and two sons, Archibald Iain ('Eenie') and Alexander ('Ally'). His courtship and close relationship with his wife is revealed in their voluminous correspondence  1907-1912  , and in his diaries.


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Permanent loan : Bowman family : received from the family of Archibald Bowman prior to formal accessioning procedures

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom

Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)3497) and London (NRA19898)

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures

Custodial History

His son Archibald Iain Bowman collected much material in order to write a biography, which is unfinished. A I Bowman's papers are also deposited in the University Archives (DC137) and these include the manuscript of the biography.


No further accruals expected

Related Material

Examples of philosophy lectures given by Professor Archibald Allan Bowman can be found in GB 248 DC 360  Papers of Elizabeth Glover, b1907, arts graduate, University of Glasgow, Scotland.

GB 248 DC 137 Papers of Archibald Iain Bowman


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original

Collection catalogued by Moira Rankin, Senior Archivist, 27 October 1999. Catalogue converted to Encoded Archival Description by members of Glasgow University Archive Services staff. Edited by Adele Redhead, Assistant Archivist, February 2003 and Gemma Tougher, Assistant Archivist (Cataloguing), 25 October 2011. Lower level descriptions retro-converted to EAD by Kate Gordon, volunteer, August 2014; Laura Gould, cataloguing volunteer, January 2017; Kirtsty Menzies, Catalogue Data Assistant, October 2017.