Japan and the University of Glasgow during the early 20th century

Originally posted on Glasgow University's Great War Project:

By Eriko Ueno, MLitt History of Art postgraduate student, University of Glasgow

The first consultation between Ito Hirobumi (later to become the first Prime Minister of Japan) and William John Macquorn Rankine (then Regius Chair of Civil Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Glasgow) took place during the early period of Japan’s Meiji restoration; and this meeting marked the beginning of the fruitful relationship between Japan and the University of Glasgow, particularly in the field of engineering science. Ever since the 1870s, many Japanese students obtained their expertise at the University and later contributed to their home country’s rapid modernization.[1] As part of my Club 21 internship with Glasgow University’s Great War Project in the University of Glasgow Archives, I have come to discover that this flourishing relationship kept alive around the time of the First World War, too. In 1914, Japan allied itself with Britain…

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A Third Visit from Lebanon

Post by Rachael Egan:

Today we welcomed a third visit from Lebanon Evangelical School in Tyre. Ten students from Grade 10A came to visit Special Collections at the University of Glasgow Library and discover the links their school, and Lebanon in general, has with the University.IMG_0835

Their school was founded in 1860 by the wife of Glasgow graduate, James Bowen Thompson (MD CM 1836). Thompson had entered service with the Syrian Medical Aid Association in 1844. In his post as Chief Medical Officer in Damascus, he met and married Elizabeth Maria Lloyd, who set up the first schools for girls from around the region of Syrian Antioch (Turkey) and in to modern day Lebanon. The students viewed James Bowen Thompson’s signature in the Graduation Album of Higher Degrees in Medicine 1817-1883 (GUAS Ref: R1/5/1).

We also explored some further links between Glasgow and Lebanon as seen on the International Story web-pages.

One of the earliest Lebanon-born students at the University, for example, was Munib Emir El Ghurayib.  He enrolled at the University one hundred years ago, in 1915, for two years to study an Arts course, and went on to teach Arabic at Kingsmead, Birmingham, a training institution of the Friends’ Foreign Mission Association.

Mrs Bowen Thompson from 'Sunrise in Syria'

Mrs Bowen Thompson from ‘Sunrise in Syria’

We also shared the story of Lydia Ida Huber Torrance Allen (née Torrance). She graduated MB ChB from the University in 1918 and MD in 1923 and was a very successful student, winning many prizes and graduating with a Commendation for both degrees. Although born in Tiberias, modern day Israel, where her father, David Watt Torrance, a physician, had established a missionary hospital, Lydia received her early education in Beirut. Perhaps at one of schools established by Elizabeth Bowen-Thompson, who was the first to establish schools for females in the region.

Andrea from the School also brought us along a lovely volume called ‘Sunrise in Syria’ that included information about and a picture of Mrs Bowen Thompson.

Thanks to Caitlin Jukes, PhD student of Microbiology currently working on a project within Special Collections, who helped organise and present the records and thanks to Andrea Smith who contacted us from the School and also brought us along the lovely book to see!

Find out about previous visits from the Lebanon Evangelical School here.

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Bruno Touschek, a pioneering physicist

Bruno Touschek, born in Vienna in 1921, was a Glasgow graduate and lecturer in Natural Philosophy from 1949 to 1952 who invented the storage ring for high-energy elementary particles.

Forced to leave the University of Vienna in 1940, he continued his studies at Hamburg, where he worked with Rolf Wideroe on the development of the Betatron, the first circular accelerator for electrons. They were already discussing the possibility of colliding stored electrons and positrons head-on. His work was disrupted by his arrest by the Gestapo in 1945 and subsequent forced march to Kiel. He survived and graduated from Gottingen in 1946.

Touschek became a DSIR fellow at the University in 1947 and began research for a PhD which was published in 1949. He then became a lecturer in Natural Philosophy and he continued to develop his work on accelerators. He left the University in 1952 and became a researcher at the National laboratories of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare in Frascati and a lecturer at the University of Rome-La Sapienza. He died in 1978.

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Glasgow’s first Malaysian student

To mark Malaysian Independence Day, Hari Merdeka, we’ve got a Glasgow First post.

The University of Glasgow welcomed its first Malaysia student in 1911. Lee Hoe Thye was from Penang, the Straits Settlement, present day Malaysia, son of Yewcheong Thye, a mining engineer.

Lee Hoe Thye, Engineering and Naval Architecture Class 1913–1914 (ACCN173/11/7/1a)

He enrolled at the University in 1911, aged 23, to study Engineering for two years.

Educated at the Penang Free School and at Aberdeen Grammar School, Thye undertook a five-year apprenticeship in 1906 with William McKinnon and Company Ltd, Aberdeen while also attending Robert Gordon’s Technical College.

Thye continued his studies for a further year at the University of Edinburgh, and in 1914 he was employed as a draughtsman with Messrs. Glenfield and Kennedy Ltd, Kilmarnock.

In October 1915, Thye returned to the Federated Malay States, where he was a supervising engineer to Chan Sow Lin and Co, Kuala Lumpur.

He was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1910, and an Associate Member in 1916, but died in December 1920.

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Indonesia’s Independence Day

To mark Indonesia’s Independence Day (17 August), here are some Indonesia-Glasgow stories from the archives.

The History of Sumatra Map

The History of Sumatra Map

The first student with links to Indonesia was Charles Campbell, a surgeon and botanist to the East India Company at Sumatra. He studied Arts at the University in the 1760s, and went on to contribute his expertise to William Marsden’s

The History of Sumatra Title Page

The History of Sumatra Title Page

The history of Sumatra, containing an account of the government, laws, customs, and manners of the native inhabitants, with a description of the natural productions, and a relation of the ancient political state of that island (1783). It was the first comprehensive account of the island’s natural history, and Special Collections holds a copy

The University’s earliest Indonesian-born student was Charles William Young, son of a merchant born in Batavia, modern day Jakarta, around 1813, who began his studies in 1831.

For more connections with Indonesia see the Indonesia country page of the International Story.

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International Story GRAB lunch

Today was the opportunity to give the wider University community an overview of the International Story so far at a special GRAB (Global Regional Activity Briefing) lunch.

The International Story in collaboration with the International Heritage project (covering Special Collections and The Hunterian) usually supports these GRAB lunches with pop-up displays relating to the particular region in focus, from the Americas and South East Asia to China and India.

However, this time it was the turn of the International Story and the University’s Unique Collections that was the focus, which drew staff attention to the extensive range of international stories held in the Archives and Collections. With an introduction from Jim Conroy, Vice-Principal Internationalisation and Lesley Richmond, Deputy Director of University Library and University Archivist, the programme of events was jammed packed and included the following presentations

  • The University of Glasgow’s International Story so far
  • Discovering the International Stories  (Edith Halvarsson and Sophia Yu, Club 21 International Project Placement Students)
  • What’s available to promote the University? – Bespoke gifts available from the University Shop (Matthew Williams, University Shop Manager)
  • The University’s Scottish Business Archive – an unrivalled collection of renown Scottish business innovations and connections around the world (Kiara King, Assistant Archivist, Business Collections)
  • The University’s Archivesauthenticating the University’s International links (Moira Rankin, Head of Archive Services).

The pop-up display was included items from Special Collections (Samantha Gilchrist), Archives (Kiara King) and the Hunterian (Nicky Reeves)

We hope that this overview of the project has shown how the University’s Collections can be employed to great effect. This resource has proved itself as a valuable resource, able to provide University-wide support, be it in international engagement and networking, or student engagement.

We would urge you to discover how the extensive range of international stories held in Archives and Collections can help you make connections. Contact us: ugs@archives.gla.ac.uk

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First international professor & pioneering geologist

Henry Darwin Rogers (UP1/17/1)

Henry Darwin Rogers (UP1/17/1)

Philadelphia-born Henry Darwin Rogers (1808-1868) was perhaps the first international (overseas) professor employed at the University of Glasgow.

He directed geological surveys of New Jersey in 1835 and Pennsylvania in 1836, becoming a freelance geologist and moved to Scotland in 1855.  He was appointed to the Chair of Natural History from 1857, a position he held until his death in 1866. Rogers was also responsible for the care of the Hunterian Museum. His brother, William Barton Rogers, with whom he had founded two high schools in the US,  was founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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