Influential Geographer. Chisholm was born in Edinburgh, the son of an acutary, and educated at the High School and University in that city. He began his career in London, but returned to the University of Edinburgh as the first lecturer in Geography in Scotland (1908), securing the recognition of Geography at that University and in the country. He was respected by his students for his extraordinary depth of knowledge and kindness. In 1921, he was one of the first to be appointed to the senior position of Reader by the University and he was also Secretary of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for 15 years.
Chisholm's publications include a Handbook of Commercial Geography (1889) and Longmans' Gazetteer of the World (1895).
He died quietly on an Edinburgh tramcar while returning from church.