James Black Baillie

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Sir James Black Baillie (24 October 1872 – 9 June 1940) was a British moral philosopher and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds. He is said to be the model for the character Sir John Evans in the novel The Weight of the Evidence (1944) by Michael Innes.[1]


Baillie was born in West Mill, Cortachy, Forfarshire and studied at the University of Edinburgh, and Trinity College, Cambridge.[2] He lectured in philosophy at University College, Dundee, and the University of Aberdeen. In 1906 he married Helena May James: they had no children.[1]

During the First World War he was in the intelligence division of the British Admiralty. After public service posts he became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds from 1924 to his retirement in 1938. He died of prostate cancer in Weybridge.[1]


He was awarded the OBE in 1918, made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy following a meeting with Italian leader Benito Mussolini[1] and received a UK knighthood in 1931.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Oxford Dictionary of National Biography accessed 25 July 2009
  2. ^ "Baillie, James Black (BLY897JB)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ London Gazette 2 June 1931

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Sir Michael Ernest Sadler
Vice-Chancellor, University of Leeds
Succeeded by
Bernard Mouat Jones