Donald Macleod Matheson

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D M Matheson
Born(1896-06-20)20 June 1896
Died14 January 1979(1979-01-14) (aged 82)
OccupationTranslator, scholar
TitleCommander of the Order of the British Empire

Donald Macleod Matheson (occasionally only MacLeod Matheson) CBE (1896–1979) was Secretary to the National Trust from 1934 to 1945. Active within the Traditionalist School as a translator and author, he founded The Matheson Trust for the study of comparative religion.


Born into an aristocratic Scottish family,[1] Matheson was educated at Balliol College, Oxford.[2] After serving in the artillery during World War I, he held the post of Secretary to the National Trust, which with the years earned him an appointment as CBE in 1945.[3] Matheson was a close friend of G. E. H. Palmer (author and translator of the Eastern Orthodox text, the Philokalia). He worked as a Director for John Smedley until his retirement in 1967.[2] Matheson maintained associations with Perennialist authors for many years, and his translations of French works by Schuon and Burckhardt were published in the UK, India and Pakistan.[2] Some of his translations were made in collaboration with Buddhist scholar Marco Pallis.



  • The National Trust: A Record of Fifty Years' Achievement (contributor). London: B.T. Batsford, Ltd., 1946.
  • Places of Natural Beauty (National Trust Guide). London: B.T. Batsford, Ltd., 1950.
  • Science and the Myth of Progress (one chapter contributed), Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2003 (ISBN 978-0 941532-47-1).


  • "Knowledge and KNOWLEDGE". Tomorrow 12, no. 2, (1964): 115-118.
  • "Psycho-Analysis and Spirituality". Tomorrow 13, no. 2, (1965): 103-108.
  • "Two Indian Saints". Tomorrow 13, no. 3, (1965): 38-41.


  • Schuon, Frithjof, Spiritual Perspectives and Human Facts. London: Faber and Faber, 1954 (reprinted by Sophia Perennis under ISBN 978-0-900588-01-3).
  • ———, Castes and Races, trans. Marco Pallis and Macleod Matheson. Pates Manor, Bedfont, Middlesex: Perennial Books, 1959.
  • ———, Language of the Self, trans. Marco Pallis and Macleod Matheson. Madras: Ganesh, 1959.
  • ———, Understanding Islam. London: Allen & Unwin, 1963, 1976, 1979; Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin Books, 1972.
  • Burckhardt, Titus, An Introduction to Sufi Doctrine. Wellingborough, Northamptonshire: Thorsons Publishers Ltd, 1976 (new edition by World Wisdom, 2008, ISBN 978-1-933316-50-5).

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ World Wisdom author bio
  2. ^ a b c "MATHESON, Donald Macleod" in Who Was Who. London: A & C Black, 1920–2008. Online ed., Oxford: OUP, 2007.[permanent dead link] (accessed 16 September 2011).
  3. ^ Official 1945 record in the London Gazette. See also the article "The National Trust" in The Observer (29 July 1945), p. 4, mentioning his retirement.