David Lindsay Keir

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Sir David Lindsay Keir (22 May 1895 – 2 October 1973) was a British historian and educator. From 1949 to 1965 he was Master of Balliol College, Oxford.

Keir was born in Northumberland to William Keir and Elizabeth (Craig) Keir; his Scottish father was a Presbyterian minister, and moved several times during Keir's childhood, from Bellingham to Newcastle, Birkenhead, and finally Glasgow, where Keir attended the independent school, Glasgow Academy.

In 1913 he began a degree at Glasgow University, but World War I stopped his studies and he was commissioned as a lieutenant. After the war he returned to university, at Oxford, where he studied history, obtaining a first class degree.[1]

Keir was elected a fellow of University College, where he remained until 1939. He was a visiting tutor at Harvard in 1923-24.[2] In 1939 he was appointed president and vice-chancellor of Queen's University, Belfast, where he remained until 1949.

In 1949 Keir was elected Master of Balliol; he stayed in that position until retirement in 1965.

Keir received a knighthood in 1946, for his service at Queen's.


  1. ^ M. H. Keen, ‘Keir, Sir David Lindsay (1895–1973)’, rev. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edition, accessed 21 Oct 2010
  2. ^ The University of Glasgow Story; accessed 21 Oct 2010
Academic offices
Preceded by
Sir Frederick Wolff Ogilvie
President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast
Succeeded by
Lord Ashby of Brandon
Preceded by
Alexander Dunlop Lindsay
Master of Balliol College, Oxford
Succeeded by
Christopher Hill