Papers of Edward Caird (1835-1908), Master of Balliol 1893-1907

Scope and Content

Most of the material in the collection is comprised of letters from the years Edward Caird was Master of Balliol, 1893-1907. There are a few printed papers relating to University events, two photographs, and a file of letters of condolence to his widow upon Caird's death in 1908.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born 22 March 1835, fifth son of John Caird, managing partner of a shipbuilding firm, of Greenock.

Educated : Greenock; Glasgow University and St. Andrew's University; Balliol 1860-3; Snell Exhibition, Pusey and Ellerton Scholarships 1861; Jenkyns Exhibitioner and 1st in Classical Moderations 1862; 1st in Literae Humaniores and B.A. 1863; M.A. 1873; member of the "Old Mortality" Club. Friend of T.H. Green and pupil of Jowett.

Married Caroline Frances, daughter of Rev. John Wylie, Minister of Carluke, Lanark. She survived him without issue.

Career as a philosopher:

  • Fellow and Tutor of Merton College 1864-6.
  • Professor of Moral Philosophy, Glasgow, 1866-93; Examiner in Literae Humaniores, Oxford 1889-96; LL.D. (St. Andrew's) 1883, (Glasgow) 1894; D.Litt (Cambridge) 1898; Gifford Lecturer on Natural Theology 1891 (at St.Andrew's) and 1900 (at Glasgow); D.C.L. (Oxon.) 1891.
  • Elected Master of Balliol 1893; resigned the Mastership in 1907 owing to ill-health; an original Fellow of the British Academy, 1902; supported the grant of degrees to women and education of working-men at Oxford.
  • Died 1 November 1908. Buried near Benjamin Jowett and T.H. Green in St. Sepulchre's Cemetery, Oxford.


The Caird Papers are arranged in 6 series:

  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Letters & papers re death of Caird
  • Other Letters
  • Printed papers
  • Provenance and acquisition correspondence

Conditions Governing Access

This material is open to researchers.

Acquisition Information

JH Muirhead of Walsall, 1920s - see accession correspondence, series 6.

Other Finding Aids

The Caird Papers are listed online at

Archivist's Note

Biographical information compiled by Rachel Kemsley, Modern MSS Assistant 1994-5. Listing by Dr John Jones, Fellow Archivist, 1979, and updated 2012. Edited by Anna Sander 2013/18. Note on Caird papers from Strachan-Davidson collection by Tim Procter, Modern MSS Assistant 1992-3.

Appraisal Information

This material will be retained permanently.


None expected.


Caird's publications include:

  • Critical Account of the Philosophy of Kant (1877).
  • The Social Philosophy and Religion of Comte (1885).
  • The Critical Philosophy of Kant (1889).
  • Essay on Literature and Philosophy (1892).
  • Evolution of Religion (1893).
  • Evolution of Theology in the Greek Philosophers (1904).
  • Lay Sermons delivered in Balliol Hall (1907).

Further information

  • W.I. Addison, The Snell Exhibitioners (1901), pp.148-9.
  • Balliol College Register 1833-1933 .
  • James Cappon, Edward Caird: A Reminiscence (offprint from Queen's Quarterly).
  • Dictionary of National Biography .
  • Sir Henry Jones and J.H. Muirhead, The Life and Philosophy of Edward Caird (1921).
  • John Jones, Balliol College: A History 1263-1939 (1988).
  • J. Jones, "A Contested Mastership. The Election of Jowett's Successor", Balliol College Record 1977, pp.49-56.
  • J.L. Strachan-Davidson, In Memory of Edward Caird: An Address delivered in Balliol College Chapel...1908.
  • See also the Archives Balliolenses files for other recollections, etc., of Caird.