Geddes, Patrick, Sir, 1854-1932

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From the description of Letters, 1853-1858. (Clarke Historical Library). WorldCat record id: 31944977

Sir Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) was a biologist, sociologist and town planner with a strong interest in education, the arts, history and many other subjects. He believed strongly in the inter-relationships between all branches of knowledge. Geddes grew up and was educated in Scotland, and studied biology in London. After a professional career as a biologist in London and France, he settled in the late 1880s in Edinburgh, where he became involved in the regeneration of the Old Town. He was particularly involved in the Ramsay Garden complex of private housing, student hall of residence and artists' studios, and in the Outlook Tower. In 1889 Geddes became Professor of Botany at Dundee University College, where he was required to be present for only 3 months of the year. This gave him the opportunity to pursue many other interests. In the ensuing decades, Geddes developed a highly individualistic theory of human societies and their spatial manifestation in the city and in the country, drawing upon theories in biology, geography, philosophy and politics. In 1904 Geddes published his first major report, City development: a study of parks, gardens and culture institutes, which enhanced his reputation among architects and planners. After 1900, Geddes's activities centred on London, where he co-founded the Sociological Society in 1903 and showed his Cities and Town Planning Exhibition in 1911. From 1914-1924 Geddes lived mainly in India, where he was involved in town planning. He accepted the Chair of Sociology and Civics at the University of Bombay in 1919. At this period, Geddes designed the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, garden suburbs for Jerusalem and Haifa, settlements elsewhere in Palestine, and the master plan for Tel Aviv. After his return to Europe in 1924, Geddes settled in Montpellier, France, where he founded the Scots College as an International University to propagate his ideas. He was knighted in 1932 and died at Montpellier. There are many published books on the life and work of Patrick Geddes. The Geddes papers were gifted to the Royal Technical College ( predecessor of the University of Strathclyde) in 1955 by his son, Arthur Geddes and the Trustees of the Outlook Tower.

From the guide to the Papers of Sir Patrick Geddes, 1630-1969, (Strathclyde University Archives)

Patrick Geddes was a biologist, sociologist and town planner with a strong interest in education, the arts, history and many other subjects. In 1889 he became Professor of Botany at Dundee University College, where he was required to attend for only 3 months of the year. This gave him the time to pursue many other interests, including a commission in 1903 (in competition with the architect T H Mawson) from the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust to prepare a town plan for Dunfermline, the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie, the wealthy philanthropist. Carnegie stipulated a plan that would bring sweetness and light into the lives of the working people of the burgh. The Trustees were to be pioneers and seek to achieve something new and better than existing town plans. Geddes's report was ready in 1904, and was published as 'City development: a study of parks, gardens and culture'. Unfortunately, the Trustees rejected the reports of both Geddes and Mawson as too ambitious and expensive. Geddes's friend, C H Grinling was an early Fabian socialist activist and editor and publisher of the 'Woolwich Pioneer' newspaper

From the guide to the Letter and 'At Home' invitation from Patrick Geddes to Mr and Mrs C H Grinling, 1903, 1928, (Strathclyde University Archives)

Epithet: of Add MS 45291

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001094.0x00021a

Patrick Geddes was born in 1854 in Ballater, Aberdeenshire. He was educated at Perth Academy before studying biology under Thomas Henry Huxley and zoology under Henri de Lacaze-Duthiers. From 1877, he acted successively as demonstrator of physiology at University College, London, demonstrator of zoology at Aberdeen University and demonstrator of botany at Edinburgh University. Ill health restricted his career as a natural scientist so he turned instead to social analysis, applying his scientific methodology to the processes of economic and social change. From 1889 until his resignation in 1919, he held a part-time post as professor of botany at University College, Dundee, devoting his spare time to urban and regional planning. In 1904, his influential report 'City Development, a Study of Parks, Gardens and Culture Institutes' was published, and from 1911, his Cities and Town Planning Exhibition was shown in Britain, Europe and India.

From 1914 to 1924, he lived mainly in India, holding the chair of civics and sociology at Bombay University between 1920 and 1923. In 1924, he settled in Montpellier, where he established the Scots College. He was knighted in 1932 and died at Montpellier in the same year.

From the guide to the Patrick Geddes collection, 1910, (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge)

Patrick Geddes was born in Ballater, Aberdeenshire, in October 1854. He was the youngest son of Capt. Alexander Geddes, and he grew up in Perth where he was educated at Perth Academy. He then studied under Thomas Henry Huxley at the Royal School of Mines, London, 1874-1878. He also studied at University College, London, at the Sorbonne and at the University of Edinburgh and at Montpellier, France.

Geddes succesively demonstrated or lectured in Physiology at University College, London, in Zoology at Edinburgh University from 1880 to 1888, and held the Chair of Botany at University College Dundee from 1888 to 1919. At the University of Bombay, India, he organised a department of sociology and civics and held the Chair of Sociology there from 1919 until 1924.

Although trained in Biology, Geddes had generalist interests and these soon led him to become a social geographer, practical administrator, historian, dramatist and philosopher. He involved himself in the renovation movement in the Old Town of Edinburgh and it was in the Old Town too that he situated his famous Outlook Tower, a museum of local, regional, Scottish, and world history. In 1919, Geddes who was 'considered one of the greatest living authorities in civics and social survey' was entrusted by the International Zionist Commission to plan New Jerusalem and its proposed university. He was also the founder - in 1924 - of the College Des Ecossais (Scots College), an international teaching establishment located in Montpellier. In the British Mandated Territory (part of which later became Israel), the new city of Tel Aviv (the White City) was constructed from the early 1930s until the 1950s based on an urban plan by Sir Patrick Geddes - a plan which reflected modern organic planning principles. He was also involved in Indian town planning work.

Publications by Patrick Geddes include: Chapters in modern botany, 1893; City development : a study of parks, gardens, and culture institutes, 1904; Cities in evolution : an introduction to the town planning movement and to the study of civics, 1915; Leben und Werk von Sir Jagadis C. Bose, circa 1930; jointly with Sir J. Arthur Thomson, The evolution of sex, 1889; and, jointly with Victor Verasis Branford, The coming polity: a study in reconstruction, 1917, and Our social inheritance, 1919.

Geddes was knighted in 1932, and Sir Patrick Geddes died in Montpellier, France on April 17, 1932.

From the guide to the Material relating to Patrick Geddes, biologist sociologist, educationist and town planner (1854-1932), 1928, (Edinburgh University Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Material relating to Patrick Geddes, biologist sociologist, educationist and town planner (1854-1932), 1928 Edinburgh University Library
referencedIn William B. Provine collection of evolutionary biology reprints, 20th century. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Papers of William Speirs Bruce (1867-1921), 1892-1923 Edinburgh University Library
referencedIn Zimand, Gertrude Folks, 1894-1966. Gertrude Folks Zimand and Savel Zimand papers, 1911-1958. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Geddes, Arthur, 1895-. Outlook Tower, Castlehill, Edinburgh : documents, 1924-1966. Centre canadien d'architecture, | Canadian Centre for Architecture | CCA
creatorOf Geddes, P. Letters, 1853-1858. Clarke Historical Library
referencedIn Turner, John F. C.,. Oral history interview with John F.C. Turner, 2007. Nolan, Norton & Company, Incorporated
referencedIn Keel, John S. Letter, n.d., to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Material relating to the Outlook Tower Current Events Club, Outlook Tower, Edinburgh, 1895-1914 Edinburgh University Library
referencedIn Joseph Ishill papers, 1888-1966. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Vol. II (ff. 372). Sir Hall Caine-T. A. Guthrie ('F. Anstey').includes:f. 1 Sir Thomas Henry Hall Caine, KBE; novelist: Letter to W. Archer: 1906. f. 2 Annie Payson Call, American author: Letter to W. Archer: 1889. f. 5 Andrew Carnegie, philanthrop... British Library
referencedIn The Percy Johnson-Marshall Collection, 1931-1993 Edinburgh University Library
referencedIn Patrick Geddes : vertical file. Centre canadien d'architecture, | Canadian Centre for Architecture | CCA
referencedIn Material relating to Patrick Geddes, biologist sociologist, educationist and town planner (1854-1932), 1928 Edinburgh University Library
referencedIn Charles Marie Georges Garnier papers, 189-1953. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Sir Patrick Geddes, Professor of Botany, University College, Dundee, 1884-1954 University of Dundee
creatorOf Papers of Sir Patrick Geddes, 1630-1969 Strathclyde University Archives
referencedIn Papers of Lewis Mumford, 1920-1959 Reading University : Special Collections Services
creatorOf Geddes, Patrick, 1854-. City government and administration - general. University of Chicago Library
referencedIn John Nolen papers, 1890-1938, 1954-1960. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
creatorOf Patrick Geddes collection, 1910 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Jaqueline Tyrwhitt Papers, 1895-1971 Strathclyde University Archives
referencedIn Nolen, John, 1869-1937. John Nolen papers, 1890-1938, 1954-1960. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Patrick Geddes collection, 1910 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Geddes, Patrick, Sir, 1854-1932. Correspondence, 1917-1932, n.d., from Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Geddes, Patrick, Sir, 1854-1932. [Selected items written by Patrick Geddes] [microform]. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Letter and 'At Home' invitation from Patrick Geddes to Mr and Mrs C H Grinling, 1903, 1928 Strathclyde University Archives
referencedIn Boardman, Philip. Philip Boardman papers, 1979. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Geddes, Patrick, Sir, 1854-1932. Letters, 1916-1932, n.d., to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Foundations of Sociology Archive (LePlay), 1880-1959 Special Collections and Archives, Keele University
referencedIn Mumford, Lewis, 1895-. Lewis Mumford, collector, publications, 1880-1972, 1880-1932 (bulk). Cornell University Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Boardman, Philip person
associatedWith Bruce William Speirs 1867-1921 person
correspondedWith Century Company corporateBody
associatedWith Collège des ʹEcossais. corporateBody
correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
correspondedWith Garnier, Charles Marie Georges, 1869- person
associatedWith Geddes, Patrick person
associatedWith International Exhibition of Industry, Science and Art (1888 : Glasgow, Scotland) corporateBody
correspondedWith Ishill, Joseph. person
associatedWith John, Nolen 1869-1937. person
associatedWith Johnson-Marshall | Percy | 1915-1993 | professor of urban design and regional planning, University of Edinburgh person
associatedWith Keele University corporateBody
associatedWith Keel, John S. person
associatedWith Muirhead Roland Eugene 1868-1964 person
associatedWith Mumford, Lewis, 1895- person
associatedWith Nolen, John, 1869-1937. person
associatedWith Outlook Tower. corporateBody
associatedWith Outlook Tower Current Events Club corporateBody
correspondedWith Provine, William B. person
associatedWith Sir Patrick Geddes person
associatedWith Sociological Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Turner, John F. C., person
associatedWith Tyrwhitt, Jaqueline, 1905-1983, town planner; Geddes, Patrick, 1854-1932 person
associatedWith Université de Paris. corporateBody
associatedWith Zimand, Gertrude Folks, 1894-1966. person
associatedWith Zionist Commission. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
India--Indore
Michigan
Edinburgh (Scotland)
India
London (England)
Great Britain
United States
Subject
Slavery
Cooperation and socialism
Community and college
Regional planning
Art criticism
Indians of North America
City planning
Evolution (Biology)
Architecture
Summer school
Sociology
Evolution (Botany)
Statistics
Exhibitions
Agriculture
Social sciences--Philosophy
Temperance--History
Education, higher
Sociology--Study and teaching (Higher)
Biology
Residence and education
Universities and colleges
Urban planning
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1854-10-02

Death 1932-04-17

Britons

English

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