Papers of Professor John Orr (1855-1966)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The Papers of Professor John Orr consist of correspondence, lectures and other material mainly about Romance linguistics. There is a scrapbook of wartime newspaper cuttings, and material relating to Caen. There are also rolled maps and linguistic charts.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Orr was born in Launceston, Tasmania on 4 June 1885. He was educated at the High School, Launceston, and at the University of Tasmania. In 1905 he won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, Balliol College, and graduated in 1910 with Honours in Classical Moderations and in Law. Orr then went on to study Romance Languages and Literature at the Sorbonne and at Florence and took the Oxford B.Litt. in 1913. Between 1913 and 1915 he was a Lecturer in French at Manchester University and from 1915 to 1918 he was a Lecturer in French at East London College. In addition, during the First World War he served in the Naval and Military Intelligence Departments in France. At the end of the war he became Professor of French at the Victoria University of Manchester and then in 1933 became Professor of French at Edinburgh University. Developments within the Department led to the establishment in 1951 of a second Chair at Edinburgh, and to a division of the field of study. Professor Orr's Chair was given the new title of French Language and Romance Linguistics and the other was entitled French Literature. From 1951, Orr was also Dean of the Faculty of Arts until his retirement in 1954. Earlier, in 1945, his work as the Chairman of the Edinburgh-Caen Fellowship was recognised by the University of Caen with the award of Docteur Honoris Causa. Between 1963 and 1966 he was President of the International Federation of Modern languages and Literature. Among his publications were, An introduction to Romance classics translated and revised from the Rumanian version by I. Iordan (1937), Le Lai de l'Ombre (1948), Contes et poemes by J. Supervielle (1950), Words and sounds in English and French (1953), Old French and modern English idiom (1961). Professor John Orr died on 10 August 1966.

Conditions Governing Access

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Note

The biographical history was compiled using the following material: (1) Who's who 1962 (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1962). (2) University of Edinburgh Journal, Vol.17. 1953-1955, pp.206-207 (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd). (3) University of Edinburgh Journal, Vol.5. 1932-1933, p.232 (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd). (4) University of Edinburgh Journal, Vol.23. 1967-1968, p.82 (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd).

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 one or two additional references to letters of Professor Orr and letters to him.

Additional Information

The biographical history was compiled using the following material: (1) Who's who 1962 (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1962). (2) University of Edinburgh Journal, Vol.17. 1953-1955, pp.206-207 (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd). (3) University of Edinburgh Journal, Vol.5. 1932-1933, p.232 (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd). (4) University of Edinburgh Journal, Vol.23. 1967-1968, p.82 (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd).

Personal Names

Geographical Names