Item 0015 - Letter, 18 April 1885

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Letter, 18 April 1885

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CA MUA MG 1022-2-1-206-0015

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  • 18 April 1885 (Creation)
    Wright, R. Ramsay (Robert Ramsay), 1852-1933
    Toronto (Ont.)

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Robert Ramsay Wright was born on September 23, 1852, in Alloa, Scotland.

He was a zoologist, educator, administrator, and author. He attended Alloa Academy and Edinburgh Royal High School. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh (M.A., 1871; B.Sc., 1873). In 1874, he was appointed a Professor of Natural History at the University of Toronto, where he would remain until he retired in 1912. In 1887, Wright was appointed the first Professor of Biology at the University of Toronto and exerted a tremendous personal influence on the teaching of biology in Canada. He was much admired by his students and attracted some of the largest classes at the university. He emphasized instruction in the laboratory and developed a large teaching museum in the new Biological Building (1889). He was also instrumental in re-establishing the medical school at the University of Toronto in 1887 after a 34-year hiatus. In 1901, he became the first Dean of Arts and, in 1902, a Vice-President of the University. Wright received honorary degrees from the universities of Toronto (LL.D., 1902), Edinburgh (LL.D. 1912), and Oxford (M.A., 1914). He contributed many papers and articles to the Canadian Institute and various scientific journals and published the textbook, "An Introduction to Zoology: for the Use of High Schools" (1889). After his retirement, he moved to Oxford, England, where he renewed his friendship with Sir William Osler. After Osler's death, Wright assisted with the cataloguing of the famous Osler library. During World War I, he translated documents for the British War Office. In 1965, the University of Toronto named the new Ramsay Wright Zoological Laboratories in his honour.

In 1876, he married Katherine Octavia Smith (1853-1930). He died on September 5, 1933, in Droitwich Spa, England.

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Letter from R. Ramsay Wright to John William Dawson, written from Toronto.

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  • Box: M-1022-10