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Correspondence between Dr. Ian M. L. Hunter and Prof. Alexander C. Aitken

Identifier: Coll-1235

Scope and Contents

The correspondence is composed of:-

E97.57 - a collection of letters (11), typescript and manuscript, and some notes on calculations, relating to investigations into Aitken's abilities as a mental calculator, dating from 6 December 1960 to 7 December 1961, from Aitken (on either paper headed with Mathematical Institute, Chambers Street, Edinburgh; or, private address on Primrosebank Road, Edinburgh) to Hunter (Department of Psychology).

E97.58 - a collection of letters (6), typescript, also relating to investigations into Aitken's abilities as a mental calculator, dating from 12 December 1960 to 22 January 1962, with one letter having the paper ' Characteristics of decimalizing performance'; and, letters (22) from various people to Hunter dating from 4 May 1961 to 7 June 1978 including letters from Sir Frederic C. Bartlett (1884-1969) written between 4 May 1961 and 24 June 1962, and letters between Hunter and Dr. John D. Sutherland (1905-1991) written between 15 January 1962 and 23 July 1977.


  • Creation: 1960-1978


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Biographical / Historical

Ian M. L. Hunter graduated from Edinburgh University in 1950 with a First Class Honours degree in Psychology (B.Sc), and also graduated from Oxford in 1953 with a D.Phil. Between 1953 and 1962 he was a Lecturer in Psychology at Edinburgh University. In 1962 he went to the University of Keele as its foundation Professor of Psychology. He retired early from Keele in 1982, then became Emeritus Professor.

In the early 1960s, while Dr. Ian M.L. Hunter, he collaborated with Professor Alexander C. Aitken in investigations about his extraordinary abilities as a mental calculator. They met frequently and also exchanged letters.

Alexander Craig Aitken, was born in Dunedin, New Zealand on 1 April 1895. He attended Otago Boys' High School from 1908 to 1912, and then studied at the University of Otago from 1913. His studies were cut short by the 1914-1918 War however and he enlisted in 1915 serving with the Otago Infantry in Gallipoli and Egypt. Wounded during the Battle of the Somme, Aitken returned to New Zealand in 1917, after hospitalisation. He gained a postgraduate scholarship which brought him to Edinburgh University in 1923. His thesis on statistics gained him the degree of D.Sc. in 1925 when he also joined the University staff as a lecturer in Statistics and Mathematical Economics. In 1937 he was promoted to Reader, and in 1946 was appointed to the Chair of Mathematics.

Professor Alexander C. Aitken died in Edinburgh on 3 November 1967, and Ian M.L. Hunter, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Keele University, died in Edinburgh on 30 August 2004.


2 folders

Physical Location

E97.57; E97.58

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession nos: E97.57 and E97.58

Related Materials

Also within Special Collections, Edinburgh University Library, are Papers of Professor Alexander C. Aitken (1895-1967)

Processing Information

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections.

Correspondence between Professor Ian M. L. Hunter (d. 2004) and Professor Alexander C. Aitken (1895-1967), and others
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
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Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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