Godfrey H Thomson - Documenting the understanding of human intelligence


This is a project based at the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Research Collections, with the main aims of cataloguing and preserving the papers of psychologist, educator, and statistician Professor Sir Godfrey Thomson. In the course of the project, the papers of individuals who worked with Thomson, along with the records of the Godfrey Thomson Unit for educational research, have also been catalogued.

The project has proved a collaborative one, with Project Archivist Emma Anthony working closely with Researcher Caroline Brett from the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology.

The cataloguing work was supported by the following grant: Wilson, A., Deary, I. J., & Buttars, G. Documenting the understanding of human intelligence: preserving and cataloguing the papers of Professor Sir Godfrey Thomson (1881-1955). Wellcome Trust. March 2013-May 2014. (Ref. 099432/Z/12/Z.)

The collections of the 'Papers of Godfrey Hilton Thomson', the 'Papers of Albert Pilliner', 'Material relating to Elsie G. Taylor', 'Collections of recordings (78rpm) of a lecture given by Godfrey Thomson in 1950' were physically retrieved from their owners by Ian Deary during his work on the following grant: Deary, I. J., Lawn, M., & Bartholomew, D. Reconstructing a Scottish school of educational research 1925-1950. Economic and Social Research Council. January 2006-May 2010. (Ref. RES-000-23-1246.) The deeds of gift from the owners of the materials (Annabella Senior, Sheila Anderson, Elsie G. Taylor, and Vida McFarland, respectively) to the University of Edinburgh are gratefully acknowledged.

The next phase involves digitising Thomson's papers, which will be aided by two paid internships, training future professionals. The project has been generously funded by the Wellcome Trust's Research Resources in Medical History Grants Scheme.

Ian Deary on Godfrey Thomson

View Professor Deary's paper to the British Academy/British Psychological Society "An Intelligent Scotland: Professor Sir Godfrey Thomson and the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1932 and 1947" (17 Oct 2012) below.