By courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow City Council

Frances Helen Melville


Academic & Suffragist

Frances Helen Melville (1873-1962) was a suffragist and a prominent campaigner for greater access to higher education for women. She was Mistress of Queen Margaret College, 1909 to 1935 and was awarded an honorary LLD by the University in 1927.

Born in Edinburgh, Melville matriculated at the University of Edinburgh in 1892 and graduated with a first-class honours MA degree in Philosophy in 1897. From 1896 until 1899 she worked as a tutor at the University of Edinburgh, then after a short spell as lecturer in Mental and Moral Science at the Cheltenham Ladies' College she became warden of University Hall at the University of St Andrews. In 1910 she became the first woman to graduate BD at a Scottish university.

Melville was Mistress of Queen Margaret College from 1909 until it closed in 1935. In 1927 she was the first Scottish woman graduate to receive an honorary degree from the University. She was a prominent member of the Scottish Universities Women's Suffrage Union and Honorary President of the Glasgow Women's Citizens' Association, and she stood as an Independent for the Scottish Universities seat in a bye-election in 1938. She was awarded an OBE in 1935.

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