The Madras College Archive


Former Pupil Biographies

Professor John Douglas Craig (1887 - 1968)

John Douglas Craig (31 May 1887 13 May 1968) was a Scottish classicist, who was Firth Professor of Latin at the University of Sheffield from 1930 to 1952.

Craig was the son of Rev Robert Craig, minister in Ardentinny in Argyll, Scotland. He was the younger brother of Robert Meldrum Craig FRSE, the geologist and Prof James Manson Craig of St Andrews University.

He was educated at Madras College, St Andrews and then studied classics at the University of St Andrews under Wallace Lindsay and John Burnet, before moving to Jesus College, Oxford for further studies. He obtained a first-class degree in classics at St Andrews, and a second-class degree in Literae Humaniores at Oxford.

He then assisted Lindsay in St Andrews from 1912 to 1913 before becoming Assistant Professor of Classics at Queen's University, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada in 1913. In 1915, he left Canada to be commissioned in the Royal Artillery and was severely wounded in action at the Battle of the Somme. He returned to Ontario in 1919 as Acting Professor of Latin, moving to the University of Sheffield as Lecturer in Classics in 1920, and back to St Andrews in 1924 as Lecturer in Humanity. During this time, he undertook a lot of the teaching and administrative work that Lindsay was unable to due because of increasing deafness.

Craig returned to Sheffield as Firth Professor of Latin in 1930, building up good relations with the classics department at the nearby University of Leeds, before retiring to live in St Andrews in 1952. He became a town councillor in his efforts to preserve St Andrews from change, a task in which he was not always successful and sometimes aroused opposition. His main scholarship was on the Roman author Terence, but his teaching work was also highly regarded.

The 'Old Boys Chronicle' in the Madras College Magazine for December 1908 reports:

"Mr. John D. Craig was successful in gaining the Millar Prize as the last student at St. Andrews University of the session 1907-08, of those graduating with First-class honours in Classics.  Mr. Craig is at present studying at Jesus College, Oxford, and seems to be distinguishing himself in athletics there as here. Not content with 'stroking a four', he has entered the football arena and won a place in the 'Varsity team. Recently he played for his College against Cambridge."

Sons and daughters of Robert & Susan Craig

Robert Craig, minister of Ardentinny in 1860 was married to Susan Stewart Meldrum in 1880.  They had several sons in the army and others abroad. Some of the sons are known to have been educated at Madras College.

  • Robert Meldrum Craig b.1882, M.A., BSc., F.G.S., Lecturer in Geology, University of Edinburgh, was a captain in the 5th South Staffordshire Regiment; Madras Pupil;
  • James Manson Craig b.1885, M.A., B.D. was Professor of English, United College, Madras (India); Madras Pupil;
  • John Douglas Craig b.1887, M.A., B.A. (Oxon), Classical Lecturer, University of Sheffield, was a captain R.F.A.; Madras Pupil;
  • Henry David Cook Craig b.1888, M.A., M.C., Order of St Stanisaus, was a brigade major 107th Infantry Brigade, died of typhus at Reval, 13th Feb. 1920;  Madras Pupil;
  • Falconer Gray Craig b.1892, M.C., was a lieutenant in the 3rd Hussars;
  • Joseph Murison Craig b.1893, M.B., Ch.B., F.R.C.S.;
  • Archibald Douglas Craig b.1898 was a captain with 11th Gurkas, India;
  • Andrew Russell Craig b.1901, a rubber planter in Malaya.

Their daughters were:

  • Constance Craig b.1890, M.A., missionary at Ichang, China, born 20th May 1890 (marr. 1st March 1921, John Watt Cameron, Shanghai);
  • Jean Soutar Craig b.1896, M.A.