Correspondence of Professor James Carmichael Watson (1910-1942)

Scope and Content

The collection is composed of: letters and cards to C. Huntington, 1935-1941.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Carmichael Watson was born in 1910, and was the youngest son of W. J. Watson (1865-1948), Rector of the Royal High School, Edinburgh, and later Professor of Celtic at Edinburgh University, 1914-1938, and was the grandson of Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912), the eminent Gaelic scholar and editor of Carmina Gadelica. The younger Watson was educated at the Royal High School and showed proficiency in classical studies. He then studied at Edinburgh University and was awarded the degree of M.A. in 1932 with a First in Classics. He went on to achieve a First in Celtic in 1934. He spent time travelling in Phrygia studying the Galatian civilisation followed with postgraduate study in Bonn, Germany. Watson then became a lecturer in Celtic at Glasgow University, and succeeded his father as Professor of Celtic at Edinburgh University in 1938. His publications include The Gaelic songs of Mary MacLeod, Mesca Ulad, the Lament of Cathal MacMuireadhaigh for Iain Mor Macleod, and two additional volumes of Carmina Gadelica. Professor James Carmichael Watson - Ordinary Seaman - was reported missing presumed killed in April 1942 while serving with the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Material acquired from Rev. Msgr. C. Huntington, East Hampton, Long Island, New York, April 1982, Accession no. E82.26.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) 'Obituary' and 'James Carmichael Watson, O.S.' University of Edinburgh journal. Vol. 11. 1940-1942, p. 243. and p. 270. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1942.

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

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show other references to Watson related material (check the Indexes for more details): letter from G. Bottomley, 1939, at Gen. 1730 onwards; letter from B. Dickins, 1940, at Gen. 1733/7, accompanying offprint of The cult of S. Olave in the British Isles, Saga Book XII, London, 1939, now at S.B.P. .8396 Ola.Dic; and, greetings card from C. Huntington, 1941, at Gen. 2104/8/44-45.

Look at the description of The Carmichael-Watson Collection, and Collection of Letters of Professor William John Watson, both held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, and also listed on Archives Hub.

Corporate Names