REID, James Smith (1846-1926), classical scholar and historian. UNIVERSITY OF LONDON MEDAL . A gilt bronze medal by B.Wyon, engraved on the reverse "MASTER OF ARTS JAMES SMITH REID CLASSICS 1869". 44.5mm. EF, small areas of gilding worn away (see photos).
James Smith Reid was born at Sorn, Ayrshire, in 1846, the eldest son of John Reid, schoolmaster, and his wife, Mary Smith. He was educated first in Arbroath and then at the City of London School, and entered Christ's College, Cambridge, as a scholar in 1865. In 1868 he was awarded the Browne medal for a Latin epigram; in 1869 was senior chancellor's medallist and the same year was elected a fellow of his college [the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography does not mention this University of London award].
While studying classics Reid also studied law, and was Whewell scholar in 1870 and graduated LLM in 1872. From 1873 to 1885 he was classical lecturer at Pembroke College, and in 1878, he was elected to a fellowship at Gonville and Caius College, where he remained a fellow for forty-four years. In 1899 he was elected first professor of ancient history in the university, and held this chair until 1925. He received the honorary degrees of LittD of Dublin University and LLD of St Andrews University, and in 1917 he was elected a fellow of the British Academy. He was also an honorary fellow of Christ's College, where he had continued to lecture until 1880.
Reid's main interests were in Roman literature and history, and he quickly established himself as a leading Ciceronian scholar, though a heavy burden of lecturing was to limit his published work. Reid played a large part in the foundation in 1910 of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, becoming president in 1916. He was an active member of the editorial committee of the Journal of Roman Studies and of the council of the British School at Rome. (ODNB).