Mary Paley Marshall
|Born||24 October 1850
|Alma mater||Cambridge University|
|Employer||University College, Bristol, Oxford, The Marshall Library of Economics|
|Known for||One of the first women to study at Cambridge University.|
She was born in Lincolnshire, England, a daughter of Rev. Thomas Paley, Rector of Ufford, and a great-granddaughter of the eighteenth-century theologian and philosopher William Paley. She was educated at home, excelling in languages: in 1871, after performing well in rigorous entrance exams, she earned a scholarship to become one of the first five students at the recently founded Newnham College in Cambridge. She took the Moral Sciences Tripos in 1874, and was classed between a first and second-class, though as a woman she was debarred from graduation. From 1875 to 1876 she was a Lecturer at Newnham.
In 1876, she became engaged to her economics teacher, Alfred Marshall: in 1878 she moved with him to found the teaching of economics at University College, Bristol. In 1883 she followed him to Oxford, before the couple returned to Cambridge in 1885 where they built and moved into Balliol Croft, renamed Marshall House in 1991). Mary lectured on economics herself, and was asked to develop a book from her Cambridge lectures. Mary and Alfred wrote The Economics of Industry together, published in 1879. Alfred disliked the book, however, and it eventually went out of print, even with moderate demand for it.
Mary, a firm friend of Eleanor Sidgwick, kept up her association with Newnham College: she was an Associate from 1893 to 1912, twice (1891-4, 1907-9) a member of the College Council, and one of the original trustees of the Mary Anne Ewart Trust. Yet her husband Alfred became increasingly obstructive to the cause of women's education, believing that women had nothing useful to say. When Cambridge began to consider giving women degrees, he forsook friendships and respect to go against the movement. Mary was nevertheless totally devoted to her husband, and an important unofficial collaborator in his own economic writings. Alfred's major theoretical work was Principles of Economics: he is mentioned as the only author, but Mary may have done quite as much work as he did on the book.
Upon Alfred’s death in 1924, Mary became Honorary Librarian of The Marshall Library of Economics at Cambridge, to which she donated her husband's collection of articles and books on economics. She continued to live in Balliol Croft until her death in 1944. Her ashes were scattered in the garden. Her husband is buried in the Ascension Parish Burial Ground.
She was a member of the Ladies Dining Society in Cambridge, with 11 other members.
Mary Marshall's reminiscences were published posthumously as What I Remember (1947).
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- Keynes, John Maynard (June–September 1944). "Mary Paley Marshall". Economic Journal. Reprinted in Keynes (1972, 2010)
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