Correspondence of Dr. Robert Henry Thouless (1894-1984)

Scope and Content

The small collection is composed of three Australian overseas aerogramme letters (one manuscript, and two typescript) written while on his lecturing trips to Australia. The letters are each addressed to Dr. D. J. Bruce at Department of Education, Brookside, Cambridge, or at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. The sender's addresses were in/at: Cremorne, Sydney NSW; Adelaide University SA; and Ocean Beach, Manly NSW. The letters are dated between 12 May 1962 and 26 December 1966.

The content includes:

  • - in letter dated 12 May 1962 - indicating a term at the Psychological Dept., Melbourne, and at Pysch. Dept., Adelaide
  • - in letter dated 16 June 1962 - a little on flora, fauna etc., small detail about academics met
  • - in letter dated 26 December 1966 - a little on revision of Psychology of religion and other publishing hopes

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Henry Thouless was born on 14 July 1894. He was educated at the City of Norwich School and he studied at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he obtained the degree of B.A. in Natural Sciences in 1915. During the Great War he served in the Royal Engineers with the British Salonika Force and after the interruption of the War he was awarded the degree of Ph.D. from Cambridge in 1922.

In 1921 Thouless was appointed Lecturer in Pyschology at Manchester University, then in 1926 he was Lecturer at Glasgow University, and then back to Cambridge as a Lecturer in 1938. At Cambridge he became Reader in Educational Psychology in 1945, and from 1961 he was Reader Emeritus there.

In 1962 and in 1966 Thouless was lecturing in Australia. He was a Consultant for the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) in 1964, President of the British Psychological Society in 1949, President of the Society for Psychical Research in 1942, President of Section J (Psychology) of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1937. Thouless's publications spanned across six decades and included An introduction to the psychology of religion (1923), Straight and crooked thinking (1930), Straight thinking in war time (1942), Authority and freedom (1954), Experimental psychical research (1963), and Missing the message (1971).

Latterly Robert Henry Thouless had lived in Cambridge, and he died on 25 September 1984.

Access Information

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Acquisition Information

Material acquired February 2007, with Accession No: E2007.13 applied.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Who's who 1983. London: A. and C. Black, 1983.

Other Finding Aids

None prepared for this collection.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Graeme D. Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections.