James Bennet Peace (1864–1923), Fellow of Emmanuel College for 34 years, Bursar of the College for 27 years and Printer to the University for nine years
James Bennet Peace was born on 23 April 1864, son of a schoolmaster, in Marykirk, in Kincardineshire, Scotland. He attended Aberdeen University (1880/81), and was admitted to Emmanuel College in 1881, becoming a Scholar a year later. In mathematics Part I he was 5th Wrangler (1887); in Part II he obtained a second-class degree but stayed on to study Physics and Economics, being elected Fellow of the College in 1889.
In 1891 he spent time at the Siemens factory gaining experience in practical engineering. This stood him in good stead when in 1893 he succeeded Alfred Rose as Bursar of the College, during his 27-year tenure of which he immediately oversaw the building of the Hostel and the Tutor’s House, and 20 years later the Lecture Rooms and the new North Court. He was also for short periods College Steward and Mathematical Tutor, and for 20 years Editor of the Emmanuel College Magazine.
Archivists since his time owe a debt of gratitude to him for the fact that he did much invaluable work sorting and arranging the College archives and providing finding aids to them that are still used today.
In the University, he was Demonstrator in Mechanics and Applied Physics and later Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, also a member of the Financial Board. In 1916 he was appointed Printer to the University. Outside the University, he was Director of the Gas Company. He was married to Muriel Simonds Storrs (1872–1944), who is buried with him; the couple lived at 1 Wollaston Road (now the drive to Hughes Hall, beside Fenners Cricket Ground). He died suddenly of heart failure on 30 January 1923 at the age of 58.
Interests and character
Peace was a keen oarsman as a student and for some years after that, maintaining his enthusiasm for the sport throughout his time as Fellow. He had a sound knowledge of business and finance and knew many of the skills of building, land agency, farming, architecture and latterly printing. He was an expert in maps and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. A man of enormous energy and intense concentration, he was highly popular in the College.
Parish : St Andrew the Great
Emmanuel College Magazine xxiii (1922/23), pp. 56–60
By Amanda Goode, Archivist, Emmanuel College (with Ian Bent)