James Black Baillie

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A sitting portrait black and white photograph of the then 59-year-old Sir James Black Baillie in 1931.
Sir James Black Baillie (1872-1940), Vice-chancellor of University of Leeds

Sir James Black Baillie, OBE (24 October 1872 – 9 June 1940) was a British moral philosopher and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds. He wrote the first significant translation of Hegel's "Phenomenology of Mind." He is said to be the model for the character Sir John Evans in the novel The Weight of the Evidence (1944) by Michael Innes.[1]


Baillie was born in West Mill, Cortachy, Forfarshire and studied at the University of Edinburgh, where he gained a PhD in 1899 on "The growth of Hegel's logic"[2] and Trinity College, Cambridge.[3] He lectured in philosophy at University College, Dundee, and in August 1902 was appointed Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen.[4][5] In 1906 he married Helena May James: they had no children.[1]

During the First World War he was in the intelligence division of the British Admiralty. After public service posts he became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds from 1924 to his retirement in 1938. He died of prostate cancer in Weybridge.[1]


He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1919 New Year Honours,[6] made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy following a meeting with Italian leader Benito Mussolini[1] and received a UK knighthood in 1931.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Oxford Dictionary of National Biography accessed 25 July 2009
  2. ^ Baillie, James Black (1899). Growth of Hegel's logic (Thesis). University of Edinburgh. 
  3. ^ "Baillie, James Black (BLY897JB)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  4. ^ "Court Circular". The Times (36835). London. 1 August 1902. p. 7. 
  5. ^ "No. 27469". The London Gazette. 29 August 1902. p. 5604. 
  6. ^ "No. 31114". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 January 1919. p. 453. 
  7. ^ London Gazette 2 June 1931

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Sir Michael Ernest Sadler
Vice-Chancellor, University of Leeds
Succeeded by
Bernard Mouat Jones