Papers of James Holms Dickson, 1937-, botanist, Professor of Archeobotany and Plant Systematics 1997-2002, University of Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Ordinary Chemistry lecture notes, 1955-1956;
  • Genetics lecture notes, 1955-1957;
  • Zoology lecture notes, 1956-1957;
  • Botany notebooks, lecture notes, and teaching materials, 1955-1989.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Holms Dickson was born in Glasgow on the 29th April 1937, son of Peter Dickson and Jean Holms. He attended Ibrox Primary School and went on to Bellahouston Senior Secondary. His education continued with his enrollment into the Botany class at the University of Glasgow in 1955, and in 1959 he was awarded a First Class Honours BSc in Botany. After receiving his degree he took up a position as a research assistant and later as senior research assistant at Cambridge University, and stayed in this position until he received his Ph.D in Botany in 1970. From 1963-1970 he was also engaged as a research and official fellow of Clare College, Cambridge.

After obtaining his PhD, Dickson moved back to Glasgow and began work as lecturer in Botany at the University of Glasgow in 1970. He progressed to senior lecturer, then reader, and finally to Professor of Archaeobotany and Plant Systematics in 1997. He retired from the position in 2002.

In 1987, Professor Dickson was announced leader of the Trades House expedition to Papua New Guinea, whose purpose it was to collect orchids, begonias and ferns to be grown at the Botanic Gardens and then shown in the tropicarium at the Glasgow Garden Festival, with which he was also heavily involved. Professor Dickson was made a fellow of Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1993 and was awarded the Neill Medal of RSE 1998. In 2006-2008 he was made a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow.

In later years Professor Dickson was a consultant to Britoil for the Time Trek Pavilion project, which was concerned with presenting the geological history of plants at the Glasgow Garden Festival of 1988. He continues to maintain research in Glasgow, his main topics being books on the flora of Glasgow; the combination of botany and archaeology, and in most recent years work on the 5,200 year old Tyrolean Iceman "Oetzi" and the frozen body from British Columbia.


Chronological within series

Access Information


Audio tapes currently undergoing digitisation as part of the NLS project, Unlocking Our Sound Heritage, Aug 2019.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by Professor James H. Dickson, Accn 3127, 3132, 17 December 2007

Other Finding Aids


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

The collection was held by Professor Dickson and then passed to the Glasgow University Archive Services.


None expected

Related Material

ACCN 3713, relating to James Holms Dickson's work for the garden festival.

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 John Lehmann, Archives Assistant, 22 May 2008. Lower level description compiled by John Lehmann, Archives Assistant, 22 May 2008

Geographical Names