Edith Thomson, PhD 1928

Aileen Fyfe
Monday 22 March 2021
Edith Elizabeth Bruce Thomson, MA St Andrews 1923; PhD St Andrews 1928 
Edith Thomson was the second woman to be awarded a Ph.D. in History at St Andrews for a thesis entitled ‘Scotland under Lauderdale‘. She was supervised by John W. Williams, who had been the Lecturer in Modern History since 1921, and would become the first Professor in 1929.
Her academic career appears to have been very similar to that of Edith MacQueen, who was awarded her Ph.D. just one year earlier: both were undergraduates at St Andrews; both held the Berry Research Scholarship; both won the Hume Brown Essay Prize; and both won research fellowships from the Carnegie Trust.
In the career summary to her thesis, Edith Thomson wrote:
“I matriculated in the University of St Andrews in October 1919, and followed a course leading to graduation in Arts with First Class Honours in English and History in October 1923. In October 1924 I added Post-graduate Honours of the Second Class in History, Modern and Mediaeval.
“In June 1924 I was elected to the Berry Research Scholarship in History tenable for two years, and in March 1926 I was awarded the Hume Brown Essay Prize for the results of my researches submitted as an essay on ‘The Scottish Parliament 1690-1702′. In July 1926 I was elected to a Carnegie Research Fellowship which enabled me to continue the researches on which this present thesis is based. In July 1927 the Fellowship was renewed for the current academic year.”
Other than apparently following Edith MacQueen on a Commonwealth Fund visiting fellowship to Yale, we do not (yet) know what Edith Thomson did next.
[Note, the St Andrews Library currently has her surname spelled with a -P-, but it is clear from her PhD thesis that she spelled it as ‘Thomson’]

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