Janet (Jessie) Campbell

Education campaigner

Janet (known as Jessie) Campbell, née Black (1827–1907) was a key figure in the promotion of higher education for women in Glasgow and the foundation of Queen Margaret College. She was born into a Renfrewshire family in the bleaching business and in 1846 married James Campbell (1823–1902) of Tulliechewan, who was a principal of the Glasgow wholesale drapery firm J. & W. Campbell, with whom she had five children.

The idea of lectures for women given by professors of the University of Glasgow was proposed by Jessie Campbell in 1868 and was soon realised with the assistance of John Young, Professor of Natural History, Edward Caird (Moral Philosophy), John Nichol (English Literature), and Robert Grant (Astronomy). The lectures were held at the University and in the Glasgow Corporation galleries in Sauchiehall Street. The success of the lectures led to the formation in 1877 of the Glasgow Association for the Higher Education of Women, with Jessie Campbell as Vice-President and Janet Galloway as Honorary Secretary. When the Association was incorporated as Queen Margaret College in 1883, Jessie Campbell became its Vice-President and chairwoman of its executive committee. Around the same time, Jessie Campbell's friend Isabella Elder was persuaded to purchase North Park House for the College. Jessie herself was instrumental in raising a college endowment fund of £20,000.

After Queen Margaret College was amalgamated with the University of Glasgow in 1892, Jessie Campbell retired from active involvement in women's higher education. In recognition of her ground-breaking work, she was awarded an honorary LLD by the University of Glasgow in 1901. 1


1: http://www.universitystory.gla.ac.uk/biography