Papers of Professor-Emeritus James A. Cardno

Scope and Content

Correspondence and memoirs, regarding academic life in Aberdeen in the 1930s, sent by James A. Cardno to Dr D.G. Boyle, of the Psychology Department, University of Aberdeen during the period Jul 1991 - Jul 1992. Cardno and Boyle struck up a series of correspondence after Boyle published a letter in the May 1991 edition of Gaudiamus, asking for recollections of the lectures given at Aberdeen University in 1937 by the Austrian psychologist, Alfred Adler. In doing so, he was interested in finding out what impression Adler had made on his audience and in establishing how many lectures Adler had given in Aberdeen. The latter point was addressed by one of Boyle's correspondents who explained that an unscheduled lecture, arranged by Rex Knight, Anderson Lecturer in Comparative Psychology at the University of Aberdeen, had been given by Adler on the last evening of his life at the YMCA Hall, to the staff and students of the Training College (later Aberdeen College of Education, now the Faculty of Education of the University of Aberdeen).

Cardno's first responses to Boyle's request contain reminiscences of Adler's lectures in Aberdeen in 1937, and details of his death and funeral. They also contain information about the life and work of Rex Knight, and on James Lewis McIntyre, the second Anderson Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen. Thereafter, the scope of his correspondence broadened to include more general information about his time at the University of Aberdeen, including the topography of Old Aberdeen, recollections of Tarradale House, etc., and about his time at Cambridge and subsequent career at Sydney University and the University of Tasmania. His letters contain frequent observations on personalities encountered during his university career, and include comments on changes observed in the fabric, organisation and structure of the University of Aberdeen.

During the course of their correspondence Cardno also sent Boyle reminiscences of his time as a student at the University of Aberdeen, Recollections of the University of Aberdeen, 1932 - 1938. Cardno's hand-written notes and a typescript copy made by Boyle are included in the collection. It is understood that Cardno wished his letters and reminiscences to form the basis of an unofficial history of the University of Aberdeen, to complement any official version. The correspondence arose from G D Boyle's research for his history of the Dept of Psychology, Psychology: the Aberdeen connection(Aberdeen: Aberdeen U. Psychology Dept, 1993), and also dates from the years immediately before the University's Quincentennial celebrations in 1995.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Cardno was born in Parkhill, Longside, Aberdeenshire, on 5 Jan 1915, and graduated from the University of Aberdeen, MA 1938. Lectures attended there, delivered by Rex Knight, Anderson Lecturer in Comparative Psychology, developed an interest in psychology, which was pursued at Cambridge, from where he graduated in 1940. Following graduation he worked for a short time, for the British Civil Service in London, before emigrating to Australia (as earlier generations of his family had done), where he embarked upon a long and distinguished academic career. He began lecturing in social psychology in 1947 at the invitation of Professor W.M. O'Neil, whilst he was employed as Director of Social Studies at Sydney University, and in 1949 moved to the Psychology Department as lecturer. In Feb 1950 he was appointed Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Education at the University of Tasmania, Hobart, and the following year was made Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology, being promoted to Professor in Oct 1965. On his retirement, in Jan 1991, he was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus. He died on 15 Aug 1992.


Arranged chronologically

Conditions Governing Access

Open, subject to signature accepting conditions of use at reader registration sheet. Certain items containing Cardno's observations of Australian academics remain closed for 50 years (until 2042). Please ask staff for further details.

Acquisition Information

Donated to the University in Aug 1992, by Dr D.G. Boyle, Department of History, University of Aberdeen

Other Finding Aids

Interim list available in the Reading Room, Special Libraries and Archives, University of Aberdeen.

Very brief collection level description available on Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online

Alternative Form Available

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Conditions Governing Use

Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation.

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Special Libraries and Archives (e-mail: and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

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