William Smart

Biography of William Smart

William Smart (1853-1915) was the first Adam Smith Professor of Political Economy at the University from 1896 until his death in 1915. He was awarded a DPhil in 1896.

Born in Barrhead, the son of the threadworks owner Alexander Smart, William matriculated to study at the University in 1867. He gave up his studies to concentrate on his work with the family business, but then returned to graduate MA in 1882. Professor Edward Caird invited him to teach Political Economy to the students in the Moral Philosophy class, and in 1886 he was appointed a lecturer in Political Economy at Queen Margaret College. He was appointed as the University's first "independent" lecturer in Political Economy in 1892, and became Professor when the Chair was created four years later.

As a young man, Smart was a disciple of the socialist John Ruskin and the first President of the Ruskin Society in Glasgow. He was a campaigner for the provision of greater access to higher education to women and was a chairman of the Scottish Council for Women's Trades. He also campaigned for temperance and housing reform, and was a founder of the Glasgow Workmen's Dwellings Co. Smart and his wife Katherine ran Toynbee House, the Glasgow branch of Toynbee Hall, and he was a member of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws in 1905.


William Smart
Political Economist

Born 10 April 1853, Barrhead, Scotland.
Died 19 March 1915.
University Link: Graduate, Lecturer, Professor
GU Degrees: MA, 1882; DPhil, 1896;
Occupation categories: political economists
NNAF Reference: GB/NNAF/P128553
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Record last updated: 21st Jul 2009

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