James Robb

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Nicknames/Other names:


  • University of Edinburgh
  • Sorbonne

Dates Employed: September 1837 - 1861

Faculty: Science


Position(s) held:

  • Lecturer in Chemistry and Natural History


  • First person in the province to attempt a systematic botanical collection
  • His geological, mineralogical, and botanical specimens formed the nucleus of the "university museum" (now housed in the Connell Herbarium)
  • First to offer lectures (chemistry) to members of the public, thus in effect beginning UNB's extension programs
  • Founder and first president of a learned society, the Fredericton Athenaeum
  • President of the Fredericton St. Andrew's Society for three terms
  • Appointed to Fredericton's first city council (1848), and designer of the City’s flag
  • Took a leading role in forming the New Brunswick Society for the Encouragement of Agriculture, Home Manufactures, and Commerce and became the first president in 1850, and later its corresponding secretary

Notes: In order to acquaint himself with New Brunswick’s natural history, Robb set out, soon after his arrival in Fredericton, on a long journey by foot and canoe through the wilderness of the province. Geological, mineralogical, and other data were collected on this and later excursions, and before long he was able to describe and interpret their own natural environment to his students at the college.


  • Bailey, Alfred G. “ Robb, James.” Dictionary of Canadian Biography IX. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1976. pp. 665-667.
  • Montague, Susan. A Pictorial History of the University of New Brunswick. Fredericton: University of New Brunswick, 1992. p. 24.

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