James Drever (psychologist born 1873)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from James Drever (1873))
Jump to: navigation, search
Sir James Drever
Born 1873
Shapinsay, Orkney, Scotland[citation needed]
Died 1950
Nationality Scottish
Occupation Psychologist,
Known for First Professor of Psychology at a Scottish University

Sir James Drever FRSE (1873–1950) was a Scottish psychologist and academic who was the first Professor of Psychology at a Scottish university.

Early Life and career[edit]

36 Lomond Road, Edinburgh

James Drever was born in Balfour, on Shapinsay Island, Orkney in 1873.[citation needed] In 1889 he commenced his studies at the University of Edinburgh, beginning a lifelong association with that institution. Following his graduation with a Master of Arts degree he proceeded to study medicine. In 1906 he became assistant to Professor Darroch, the Professor of Education at the University of Edinburgh.[1][2] At this time he was living at 36 Lomond Road in Trinity, Edinburgh.[3]

In 1912 he was given control of a laboratory of experimental education at Edinburgh, the first pedagogical laboratory in the United Kingdom and six years later succeeded Dr W.G. Smith as Combe Lecturer and head of the University's Psychology Department.[2][4][5]

Psychology Department at Edinburgh[edit]

The department Drever took over had only been established in 1906 and expanded greatly during Drever's time in charge of it.[4] In this role, he has been described as ’instrumental’ in the establishment of the psychology degree programme at Edinburgh. In 1931 he was elevated to the position of Professor of Psychology, and was the first individual to hold such a post in Scotland.[1] Among his colleagues at Edinburgh were Dr Mary Collins, the psychoanalyst Dr W.R.D. Fairbairn and J.D. Sutherland. Collins collaborated with Drever on a number of books.[4] Drever retired in 1944 and was succeeded by his son, also called James Drever.[6]

Work as Psychologist[edit]

Drever was recognised as an expert in experimental psychology thanks to his pioneering contributions to that field.[2] He served as President of British Psychological Society and was appointed President of the Twelfth International Congress of Psychology in 1948.[2] He was heavily involved in organising this congress, which met in Edinburgh, but was unable to attend it due to ill health. In the event his son delivered the presidential address he had written.[7]


In recognition of his work Drever was knighted in 1938.[2] His interest in the influence of Scandinavian language on the Orcadian dialect led to his being made a Knight of the First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of Saint Olav.[8]


Drever was married to Annie May Watson. Their sons were James Drever, who succeeded his father's role at Edinburgh University, and Harald Irving Drever FRSE (1912-1975), a geologist.[9] The younger James Drever was also a noted psychologist, also a BPS President, and was the first Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee.[6][10]


  1. ^ a b Buttars, Grant. "The Drever succession". Edinburgh University Archives. University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Biographies". Scottish School of Educational Research. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1908-9
  4. ^ a b c "History: Psychology". University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Scots Professor to Lecture in U.S.". The Montreal Gazette. 28 May 1929. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Baxter, Kenneth. "A celebration of the 'founder' of the University of Dundee". Archives, Records and Artefacts at the University of Dundee. University of Dundee. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "The 12th International Congress of Psychology, Edinburgh 1948". Psychology Resources Around the World. Developed by International Union of Psychological Science. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "James Drever Primus 1873 - 1950". Edinburgh University School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences. Retrieved 11 Mar 2012.
  9. ^ BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF FORMER FELLOWS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH 1783 – 2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X. 
  10. ^ "Emeritus Principal James Drever, Master of Queen's College 1966-1967, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee 1967-1978". Archive Services Online Catalogue. University of Dundee. Retrieved 9 July 2015.