The Madras College Archive


Former Pupil Biographies

Professor Sir John Rankine Brown (1861 - 1946)

John Rankine Brown was the foundation professor of classics at Victoria University of Wellington. A Scotsman, Brown took up his position at Victoria in 1899 and held the classics chair until his retirement in 1945. He was knighted in June 1946 for services to education.

When this portrait by Archibald Nicoll was presented in 1934, Brown's ex-student Diamond Jenness of the Victoria Museum in Ottawa, Canada, wrote: 'Thirty years have gone by since then, and I can still see him in his class-room, lifting us over some grammatical stumbling block or illustrating Greek and Roman history by parallels from modern times. His scholarship was as deep as his manner was unassuming, and his kindness and patience were inexhaustible.'

The 'Old Boys Chronicle' in the Madras College Magazine for December 1904 reports:

"In other spheres of life we have Mr John Brown, Professor of Classics, University of Wellington, N.Z.; ..."