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Material relating to James S. Robson

Identifier: Coll-1293

Scope and Contents

The material in the collection is composed of: a list of candidates selected for Rockefeller Medical Studentships, 1942; a letter dated 3 June 1942 from the Universities Bureau of the British Empire indicating that travel arrangements had been made for passage to the USA; a typescript copy of the thesis entitled Fluid retention in patients with chronic liver disease by James S. Robson, M.B., Ch.B. (Hons), and with tables and figures to the thesis; and, a summary of report - James S. Robson - Rockefeller Travelling Fellowship, 1949-1950.


  • Creation: 1945-1950


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

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

Biographical / Historical

James Scott Robson was born in Hawick on 19 May 1921, the son of William Scott Robson and Elizabeth Hannah Watt. He was educated at Hawick High School and began studies at Edinburgh University in 1939 graduating in 1944 with the degree of MD., and then in 1945 with the degrees of MB ChB. Earlier, in 1942, he had been awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Studentship and travelled to the USA to complete his medical training.

From 1945 to 1948 Robson served as a Captain with the Royal Army Medical Corps in India, Palestine and Egypt, and then in 1948 he married Mary Kynoch Macdonald. On demobilisation from military service he worked for a brief period with Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Clinical Chemistry Laboratories teaching medical students and postgraduate doctors, and researching kidney function and looking at patients with disturbances of water and electrolyte balance. In 1949 however, he was awarded a Rockefeller Travelling Fellowship and he again travelled to the USA to the Department of Nutrition and Biochemistry, Harvard.

In 1950 he was back in Edinburgh and with Hugh Dudley (born 1925) he set up a treatment centre for acute reversible renal failure, and with his wife, the pathologist Dr. Mary MacDonald, the Edinburgh renal biopsy service was established. This groundwork led to the first successful kidney transplant operation in the UK, performed in 1960 by Professor Sir Michael Woodruff at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Robson became Reader in Therapeutics at Edinburgh University in 1961, Reader in Medicine in 1969, and Professor of Medicine in 1977. He played a prominent role in the revision and modernisation of the Edinburgh University undergraduate medical curriculum.

The nephrologist James Scott Robson, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, died in Edinburgh on 14 March 2010


1 folder

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession no: E2011.08

Processing Information

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

Material relating to Professor James Scott Robson (1921-2010)
Language of description
Script of description
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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
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379