Elizabeth Menzies PhD (1928-2008)

Aileen Fyfe
Monday 22 March 2021

Elizabeth Alexandra Menzies, MA 1949, PhD 1954 (later, Mrs Johnson)

Elizabeth Menzies (1928-2008) was the third woman to have been awarded a Ph.D. in History from St Andrews (although she seems to have been based at University College, Dundee, then still part of the University of St Andrews). There had been no women PhDs in History at St Andrews since Edith MacQueen and Edith Thomson in the late 1920s.

Elizabeth Menzies may have been a member of the family of Dundee outfitters, Menzies & Sons Ltd. She was certainly educated at the High School of Dundee, where the school magazine reveals that she played hockey and tennis, performed in school drama (in December 1944), and was Dux of School in 1945 (with special mentions in English and Latin).

Young woman in short-sleeved white blouse
Elizabeth Menzies, 1945 (from the Dundee High School Magazine, no. 93, June 1945, opposite p.2)

She went on to study History and English at the University of St Andrews, and took an Honours M.A. in 1949.

Her research was supported by a Carnegie Research Scholarship (as Edith MacQueen and Edith Thomson had also been), and she gained her PhD in 1954 for a thesis entitled ‘A study of Anglo-Scottish relations, 1637–43‘. She was supervised by Sir Charles Ogilvie.

During 1952-53, she worked as temporary lecturer in the Department of History, at University College, Dundee; and the University Calendars reveal that she was still in that ‘temporary’ position in 1955-56.

In 1956, she married Dr John Alfred Johnson, who worked for the Foreign Office. The couple settled in Cheltenham. Elizabeth (Menzies) Johnson died in 2008. We do not (yet) know anything more about her life.

Newspaper text
Announcement of the marriage of Elizabeth Menzies and John A. Johnson, St Andrews Citizen (7 April 1956)

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