Campbell, James Joseph (1910–79), educationist, classical scholar, author, and broadcaster, was born 8 March 1910 at 237 New Lodge Road, Belfast, second child of James Campbell, barber, and Bridget Campbell (née McTaggart), whose first child died in infancy, and who later had three more children. The family was catholic, and James received his secondary education at St Malachy's College. He entered QUB (1927) on a foundation scholarship, and graduated (1930) with a first-class honours degree in classics; in 1934 he was awarded an MA. He taught for a year in Methodist College, Belfast, and in 1931 was appointed classics master at St Malachy's. In 1950 he became lecturer in education in St Mary's Training College, Belfast, and was later head of the department of education in St Joseph's Training College. He was director of the newly established institute of education in QUB from 1969 until his retirement in 1975, thus exerting considerable influence on teacher training in Northern Ireland. He was instrumental in developing in-service training for teachers, and was particularly involved with attempts to foster closer ties and cooperation among Belfast's religiously divided colleges of education, Stranmillis, St Mary's, and St Joseph's. Even before his move to work in QUB, Campbell was an enthusiastic supporter of his old university, and was chairman of convocation and a member of the QUB senate.
He was editor of Irish Bookman, published between 1946 and 1948, and wrote books and articles on education, history, classical literature, and Irish mythology. His Legends of Ireland (1955), illustrated by Louis Le Brocquy, was well received, and was translated into Dutch in 1960. He frequently took part in radio programmes; he wrote scripts for schools broadcasts and was a member of the BBC advisory council and of the UTV educational advisory council. He published a pamphlet, Television in Ireland (1961). A strong sense of public duty led him to serve on a number of Northern Ireland government committees dealing with youth and child welfare and legal aid. As one of the first catholics to gain access to public life in Northern Ireland and to achieve prominence outside his own community, he strongly advocated the need for a more equitable treatment of catholics in society; as an exponent of moderation, he tried to foster better relations between catholics and protestants. In 1943, using the pseudonym ‘Ultach’, he published an article in the Capuchin Annual, reprinted on at least six occasions as a pamphlet entitled Orange terror, which was uncharacteristically outspoken in criticising Northern Ireland's protestant hegemony and anti-catholic violence. In 1969 he served on the Cameron royal commission investigating the disturbances in Northern Ireland; in that same year, he was forced to leave his Clifton Park Avenue home after threats from both republicans and loyalists. He died 18 September 1979 at his home in Cross Avenue, off the Malone Road, Belfast, and was buried in Milltown cemetery.
He married (1934) Josephine Kerr; they had five sons and a daughter.