Papers of James Norman Davidson, 1911-1972, Professor of Biochemistry, University of Glasgow, Scotland, 1947-1972

Scope and Content

  • Papers relating to Davidson's early career 1928-1944;
  • Papers relating to Davidson's appointments 1945-1947;
  • Lecture notes 1939-1969;
  • Published articles 1936-1970;
  • Photographs c1938-c1970s;
  • Dr Robert Y Thomson's notes on Davidson and his photographs 2001-2002.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Norman Davidson was born 5 March 1911  , son of James Davidson FRSE. He married Morag McLeod BSc PhD in 1938 and had 2 daughters. He was educated at George Watson's College, Edinburgh, Scotland, and the University of Edinburgh where he received a First Class Honours Chemistry degree in 1934 and an MB ChB in 1937  . He was the Vans Dunlop Entrance Scholar in Medicine, Robert Wilson Memorial Prizeman and Wellcome Gold Medalist. He received his MD in 1939  and DSc in 1945  . He was the Carnegie Research Fellow in Biochemistry at Kaiser Wilhelm Institut fur Zellphysiologie, Berlin-Dahlem 1937-1938, Lecturer in Biochemistry at University College, Dundee , Scotland 1938-1940  , and at the University of Aberdeen 1940-1945  . He was a member of the Scientific Staff of the Medical Research Council 1945-1946, and Professor of Biochemistry at the University of London 1946-1947. In 1947  , he was appointed Gardiner Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Glasgow , the post in which he held until his death.

He guest lectured all over the world and was examiner in Biochemistry for many UK Universities. He was a member and office bearer of many organisations including the Board of Management of Glasgow Royal Infirmary from 1948-1968 and he was President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1958-1959. He published widely including The Biochemistry of Nucleic Acids which had its 9th edition published by Chapman and Hall in 1981. He died on 11 September 1972  . His widow subsequently endowed a University of Glasgow Prize in Biochemistry in memory of her late husband. The University named the building which houses the Biochemistry Department after him in 1999.

Sources: Who's Who and University of Glasgow records


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

Conditions Governing Access


Acquisition Information

DC024/1-47 deposited by Dr Morag Davidson, widow of Professor Davidson, November 1975. DC024/49-94 deposited by Dr Robert Young Thomson, Honorary Lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry in 2001. Reference DC024/48 is not allocated.

Other Finding Aids

Printed list and item level computerised list available in searchroom

Manual file level lists available at the National Registers of Archives in London (NRA 19929 Davidson) and Edinburgh (NRA(S) 1310)

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material

Conditions Governing Use

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

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

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0248 procedures

Custodial History



None expected

Related Material

Correspondence with JS Mitchell 1943 (NCUACS 36/4/92) Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives (GB 0012) For contact details of all repositories with a GB code, see the Archon repository search page, at the Historical Manuscripts Commission.

Location of Originals

This material is original


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives,ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999 and National Council on Archives,Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Fonds level description compiled by Moira Rankin, Senior Archivist, 25 February 2003

Geographical Names