John McNaught Campbell was initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at its Amen-Ra temple in Edinburgh, on 21 January 1895.  John Gibson of Edinburgh was initiated during the same ceremony but I imagine this was a coincidence and the two men hadn’t met before that evening.  John Campbell chose the Latin motto ‘Sequor’.  He doesn’t seem to have done a great deal towards following up his initiation.


This is one of my short biographies.  They mostly cover GD members who lived in Bradford, Liverpool and Edinburgh.  I’ve done what I can with those people, using the web and sources in London.  I’m sure there’s far more information on them out there, but it will be in record offices, the local papers...I’d need to be on the spot to look at them, and I’ve had to admit that life’s too short! 

Sally Davis

March 2016


This is what I have found on JOHN McNAUGHT CAMPBELL.



Each GD temple kept its own records.  I haven’t come across any mention of John in the GD collections I have access to in the Freemasons’ Library and the Warburg Institute.  



Yes, John Campbell was an active and important freemason.  He confined his freemasonry activities to Scotland, which is a pity from my point of view: the Scottish freemasons keep their own records, which I don’t have access to. 


The one English lodge John was a member of was Quatuor Coronati 2076, founded as a forum for the study of the history, mythology and symbolism of freemasonry.  It always met in London but had a world-wide reach through its journal, Ars Quatuor Coronati, which was sent out to a large number of corresponding members.  John was one of those, joining the list of them in March 1889 and remaining on it at least until 1900.  All members of Quatuor Coronati 2076 had their freemasonry credentials listed in the journal and these show the extent of John’s involvement in Scottish freemasonry.  He was a member of two lodges and one chapter and had served as WM of one lodge and PZ of the chapter.  He had held various posts freemasonry in the city of Glasgow and the county of Lanarkshire and had served on the Supreme Committee of Scotland, as its Scribe.


It’s almost certainly through freemasonry that he came to know members of the GD and be recommended for initiation.  So senior a freemason was an important recruit to the GD, even if he didn’t stay for long.


Sources for the lodges and chapter John was a member of: Ars Quatuor Coronati 2076 volume VIII 1895; endpapers list p20 gives the numbers - lodges 0 and 408 and chapter 69 - but not the names.  I went on the web to find out more and give the details below but with caution, as lodges have often had their numbers changed or re-allocated.


At there’s a list of Masonic Lodges in Scotland.  Lodge Mother Kilwinning Ayrshire is lodge number 0, founded as far back as 1598 and still in existence with (apparently) its original number.  It acted as de facto grand lodge of Scotland until 1736 when the official one was founded.  It has its own website at

Lodge Clyde 408 was founded in 1860; it still exists and is based in Glasgow.

At I found a list of all Scottish chapters.  However, 69, Kelvin Chapter, seems not to have been founded until 1918, long after AQC says John was a member.


Source for Quatuor Coronati 2076. 

Ars Quatuor Coronati 2076 Volume II 1889 unnumbered pages at end of volume [p9].

AQC2076 volume VIII 1895; endpapers list p20 shows J M Campbell still on the list; and gives details of his posts in Scottish freemasonry:

-           past Pr GJW, Glasgow

-           past PG Tr (RA) Lower Ward Lanarkshire

-           Grand Bible Bearer (Craft) and Member of the Grand Committee

-           Grand Representative Dakota

-           Grand Scribe N and Member of the Supreme Committee (RA) Scotland

-           Grand Representative of Grand Chapter of Maryland. 

The AQC2076 Volume XIII 1900 endpapers p21.  John was probably a corresponding member for far longer than this, but I haven’t checked volumes any later than 1900.



I didn’t find any.  There ought to be some in the magazines listed in the ‘work/profession’ section.



John McNaught Campbell was the eldest child of Thomas McKell Campbell and his wife Jane, née McNaught, who married in Glasgow in 1849.  He had one younger brother, Thomas; and a younger sister, Margaret.  Thomas McKell Campbell ran a wine merchants’ business in Glasgow.



Thomas McKell Campbell and Jane McNaught seem to have got married twice.  There are two records of their marriage at Familysearch: Scotland-ODM GS file number 1042982 for 1 June 1849 in the Gorbals; and Scotland-ODM GS file number 1041057 for 12 May 1849 at Eastwood, Renfrew.  Most peculiar!

Census 1871.



I haven’t been able to find out where John McNaught Campbell went to school.  I don’t think he went to university - he went into the kind of work that (in the 19th century) you learned on the job.



John McNaught Campbell trained as a surveyor and was already working as one by 1871.  However, he didn’t stay as one for very long.  He was a keen naturalist and had been elected a member of the Natural History Society Glasgow in 1870.  His hobby, and the contacts he made through it, led to his being appointed (probably in 1876) as assistant to the dynamic and persuasive James Paton, curator of the Kelvingrove House Museum.  He and Paton were at that time the only employees apart from the maintenance and cleaning staff.  John supervised the natural history and anthropological collections while Paton concentrated on the City’s art works.  John remained as an employee of what became the City of Glasgow Museum and Art Gallery until he retired.  Particularly in the early part of his career, the subjects that fell within his remit were so varied that he became a member of a wide range of specialist societies: the Royal Scottish Geographical Society; the Zoological Society; the Folklore Society; and the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh.  He and James Paton were founding members of the Museums’ Association - a society for professionals in the field.  They were in-post during two Glasgow International Exhibitions, in 1888 and 1901, which involved royal visits.  Money from the 1888 exhibition was spent on purpose-built buildings in which to house the city’s collections.


The number of staff employed in the museums and galleries had increased to 60 by 1909 and the two original curatorial employees’ duties and job titles had grown accordingly.  In 1883 John was still assistant curator but by 1894 he’d been promoted to curator.  By 1908 he was curator of ethnography and antiquities with at least one specialist working for him - Peter McNair, the curator of natural history.


I haven’t been able to find out whether John retired from work at all; or whether he continued to work until his death.  The source below about the retirement party might actually refer to John; but it could equally well refer to his boss James Paton.



For John McNaught Campbell’s training and work as a surveyor: census 1871.

For the former Kelvingrove House Museum:


Campbell’s boss James Paton:

See for a portrait and some information on his work in Glasgow.

Via, to Paton’s entry in the Index of Glasgow Men issued 1909. 


John McNaught Campbell at the Kelvingrove House Museum:

Nether Lochaber: the Natural History, Legends and Folk-lore of the West Highland by Rev Alexander Stewart, FSA Scotland.  Edinburgh: William Paterson 1883.  On p387 Rev Stewart mentions a trip he made to Glasgow in January 1878.  He spent two hours one morning going round the Kelvingrove Museum with Paton and John, whom Stewart described as “of course, a Highlander” - a reference to John’s membership of the clan Campbell.

Seen on the web: Zoologist: A Monthly Journal of Natural History issue of 1894.

Seen on the web: Minerva: Jarhbuch der gelehrten welt volume 18 1908, in English.  Proceedings of Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow volume 38 1907 p264.

The Book of Arran editor James Alexander Balfour.  Archaeology volume 2: History and Folklore, by William Mackay MacKenzie.  Illustrations p130 credits John with having photographed the three cremation urns from the Kelvingrove Museum collection.  Series published by the Arran Society of Glasgow 1910, 1914, so I imagine Balfour and MacKenzie were acquaintances of John.


Membership of societies:

Transactions, Natural History Society of Glasgow 1900 p309.

Royal Scottish Geographical Society, Report of Council volume 4 number 2 covering 1887-88 p675.

Scottish Geographical Magazine volume 4 1888 published by the Royal Scottish Geographical Soc p676.

Folklore Records: Relics of Popular Antiquities Part 2 published London: Folklore Society; in journal form between 1878 and 1882: p16 in a list of officers and members of the Society.

Seen on the web:Science-Gossip issue 257 1886 p112 in which I think John is listed as the President of a local natural history society, most likely the Natural History Society of Glasgow.

Proceedings of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh volume 10 1891 p14, p397.

History of the Berwickshire Naturalists’ Club volume 14 1894 pv.

Report of the Proceedings...Museums Association volume 5 1894 p145: an article by John, as a Fellow of the Zoological Society.


The two Glasgow International Exhibitions:

Times Friday 6 April 1888 p13a: the Prince and Princess of Wales would open the exhibition.

Times Thursday 23 August 1888 p4a a report on Queen Victoria’s state visit to the exhibition, during which she had opened the Corporation’s new buildings.

Times Fri 26 April 1901 p7a: this time the Duke and Duchess of Fife would open the exhibition.

For those who aren’t au fait with Queen Victoria’s descendants, see wikipedia on the Duchess of Fife - Princess Louise, eldest daughter of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.  Louise had married the 6th Earl of Fife in 1889; two days after the wedding, Queen Victoria made her husband a duke. 


John at a retirement party, probably that of James Paton but possibly his own: English Mechanic and World of Science volume 100 1915 p115.



I only came across the one mentioned in the ‘work’ section above:

Report of the Proceedings...Museums Association volume 5 1894 p145 has a report by John of the Association’s first meeting.


I’m sure there must be more, in the journals of some of the societies he was a member of, not online as yet.


ANY PUBLIC LIFE/EVIDENCE FOR LEISURE TIME?  Bearing in mind, of course, that most leisure activities leave no trace behind them. 


See the ‘membership of societies’ section above: John McNaught Campbell had the kind of job where it’s hard to tell between work and leisure.  Freemasonry would also have taken up a lot of his spare time.



1881 district of West End Park Glasgow.

1891 in the Assistant Curator’s house in the grounds of Kelvingrove Museum Glasgow.  I presume he will have continued to live here at least until he retired.

Sources: census 1881, 1891.  I couldn’t identify him on the 1901 census.



By 1881 John McNaught Campbell had married Jeannie.  Their daughter, another Jeanie, was aged three.  The younger Jeannie was not in their household on census day 1891.  She might have been away at school; I didn’t look for her in case I got her forename wrong (Jean/Jane/Jeanie).  She might have died young.  In 1891 a cousin of John’s was living with John and Jeanie, Bessie MacFarlane, born in Glasgow around 1871.


Sources: census 1881, 1891.  I couldn’t identify John and his family on the 1901 census.



I haven’t been able to discover when John McNaught Campbell died.  Ancestry now has Scottish probate records on it but he doesn’t seem to have been listed there under his full name.  There were rather a lot of ‘john campbell’s so I didn’t look through them.



Not sure.




BASIC SOURCES I USED for all Golden Dawn members.


Membership of the Golden Dawn: The Golden Dawn Companion by R A Gilbert.  Northampton: The Aquarian Press 1986.  Between pages 125 and 175, Gilbert lists the names, initiation dates and addresses of all those people who became members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn or its many daughter Orders between 1888 and 1914.  The list is based on the Golden Dawn’s administrative records and its Members’ Roll - the large piece of parchment on which all new members signed their name at their initiation.  All this information had been inherited by Gilbert but it’s now in the Freemasons’ Library at the United Grand Lodge of England building on Great Queen Street Covent Garden.  Please note, though, that the records of the Amen-Ra Temple in Edinburgh were destroyed in 1900/01.  I have recently (July 2014) discovered that some records of the Horus Temple at Bradford have survived, though most have not; however those that have survived are not yet accessible to the public.


For the history of the GD during the 1890s I usually use Ellic Howe’s The Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order 1887-1923.  Published Routledge and Kegan Paul 1972.  Foreword by Gerald Yorke.  Howe is a historian of printing rather than of magic; he also makes no claims to be a magician himself, or even an occultist.  He has no axe to grind.


Family history: freebmd; (census and probate);; familysearch; Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage; Burke’s Landed Gentry; Armorial Families;; and a wide variety of family trees on the web.


Famous-people sources: mostly about men, of course, but very useful even for the female members of GD.  Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.  Who Was Who. Times Digital Archive.


Useful source for business and legal information: London Gazette and its Scottish counterpart Edinburgh Gazette.  Now easy to find (with the right search information) on the web.


Catalogues: British Library; Freemasons’ Library.


Wikipedia; Google; Google Books - my three best resources.  I also used other web pages, but with some caution, as - from the historian’s point of view - they vary in quality a great deal.






Find the web pages of Roger Wright and Sally Davis, including my list of people initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn between 1888 and 1901, at: