Ogilvie was born in Valparaiso, Chile, the son of a Scots engineer from Dundee, on 7 February 1893. He died in Oxford 10 June 1949. After school at Clifton College, Bristol he studied classics at Balliol College until army service throughout the First World War. He was severely injured in April 1915, losing his left arm but continued to serve until 1919. He returned to Oxford to study political economy, and in 1920 was elected a fellow and lecturer on economics at Trinity College, Oxford. From 1926 to 1935 he held the chair of political economy at Edinburgh University. Afterwards he was vice chancellor of Queen's University, Belfast (1935–8), director-general of the British Broadcasting Corporation in succession to John Reith (1938–42), engaged in special duties with the British Council (1943–5) and finally principal of Jesus College, Oxford (1945–9). Ogilvie was knighted 1942. His widow, Mary Helen, née Macaulay, was principal of Somerville College, Oxford from 1953–66.
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.