Arthur James Balfour 1st Earl of Balfour

Biography of Arthur James Balfour 1st Earl of Balfour

Arthur James Balfour
Arthur James Balfour

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour (1848-1930), was Rector of the University from 1890 to 1893. He was a Gifford lecturer and he was awarded an honorary LLD in 1891.

Born in Whittinghame House in East Lothian, Balfour studied at Trinity College, Cambridge. He inherited a considerable fortune and spent many years as a gentleman philosopher and a member of the famous group of aesthetes, the Souls. He was elected a Conservative MP in 1874 and his political career blossomed under the patronage of his uncle, Lord Salisbury. He held a variety of offices including those of First Lord of the Treasury and Chief Secretary for Ireland and he was Prime Minister from 1902 to 1905. He was a senior figure in the coalition Government during the First World War and was responsible for the "Balfour Declaration" of 1917, which promised the Jews a national home in Palestine. He was created Earl Balfour in 1922.

In the 1890 rectorial election, Balfour defeated the Earl of Aberdeen in a campaign masterminded by the young Robert Horne, a student who became MP for Glasgow Hillhead and Chancellor of the Exchequer. Balfour held a number of university offices and was awarded many honours: for example, he was elected Rector of the University of St Andrews in 1886 and he was Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh from 1891 until his death in 1930.


Arthur James Balfour 1st Earl of Balfour
Born 25 July 1848, Scotland.
Died 9 March 1930.
University Link: Honorary Graduate, Rector
Occupation categories: philosophers; politicians
NNAF Reference: GB/NNAF/P130898
View Major Archive Collection Record
Search for this person in the DNB
Record last updated: 7th Jul 2008

University Connections

University Roles

There are no comments available.