1881 - 1930

Archbald Duff
Photo: McGill University Archives, PR009077

LLD'1881: Archibald Duff

Mathematician and theologian Archibald Duff was awarded McGill’s first Doctor of Laws in Divinity on the idea of atonement among the ancient Hebrews. He received his BA in 1864 and his MA in 1867, also from McGill.

The McGill University Archives (M.G. 1032) holds 1cm of his textural records including a copy of his thesis.

On the history of the idea of atonement among the Hebrews from the time of Amos (circa 800 B.C.) to the liberation by Cyrus from the Babylonian Exile (circa 540 B.C.)

Doctor of Laws
Department of Law

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Harriet Brooks
Photo courtesy McCord Museum

MA'1901: Harriet Brooks

Harriet Brooks was one of the first Canadian researchers in the area of radioactivity and made notable contributions to the field including discovering atomic recoil and being among the first persons to discover radon.

She was also a key contributor to the theory of radioactive decay and atomic half-life for which her former supervisor Ernest Rutherford would win the Noble Prize in 1908. She worked alongside some of the most prominent physicists of her era among them Marie Curie and J.J. Thomson.

Damping of the oscillations in the discharge of a Leyden jar

Master of Arts
Department of Physics

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Annie MacLeod
Photo: Old McGill yearbook, 1904

PhD'1910: Annie L. MacLeod

Annie L. MacLeod earned the first PhD from the nascent Department of Chemistry, which had gained departmental status in 1908. She was also the first woman to graduate with a PhD from McGill.

Following her studies at McGill she went on to teach at Vassar College and Syracuse University in the United States. She authored several books on chemistry, nutrition, and well-being.


A comparison of certain acids containing a conjugated system of of double linkages

Doctor of Philosophy
Department of Chemistry

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W. H. Hatcher
Photo: Old McGill yearbook, 1916

MSc'17 and PhD'21: William Hooker Hatcher

William Hooker Hatcher has a long history with McGill, starting his studies with a BA in 1916, a MSc in 1917 and a PhD in 1921. From 1944 to 1946, Hatcher serve as McGill's first Assistant Dean of Arts and Science. He also represented McGill on the Montreal City Council for many years.

He was fundamentally an organic chemist and his main research interests lay with lignin, cellulose and related compounds. His work with Otto Maass on the production of pure hydrogen peroxide (1918-1919) is documented by four volumes of laboratory records held in the McGill University Archives.

Studies in the compounds of phenol and pyridine


Master of Science
Department of Chemistry

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The preparation and properties of pure anhydrons, and of pure concentrated solutions of hydrogen peroxide

Doctor of Philosophy
Department of Chemistry

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Leon Edel
Photo: McGill University Archives, PR036778

MA'28: Leon Edel

Joseph Leon Edel was a North American literary critic and biographer. The Encyclopædia Britannica calls Edel, "the foremost 20th-century authority on the life and works of Henry James." While at McGill he was associated with the Montreal Group of modernist writers. With them he was one of the four original editors of the influential McGill Fortnightly Review.

In 1963 Edel won both the National Book Award for Nonfiction and the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for Henry James, his multi-volume biography of the writer.

Henry James and some recent psychological fiction

Master of Arts
Department of English

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