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No Ordinary Academics: Economics and Political Science at the University of Saskatchewan, 1910–1960. By Shirley Spafford. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000. Pp. ix, 272. $45.00


  • Clark, Gregory


Who among us journeymen academics, injected with truth serum, would not spill out an elephantine burden of resentments? Who among us, with sufficient lubrication, would not discourse eloquently on the idiocy of referees and editors, on contributions overlooked, colleagues overcompensated, grants rejected, and insights neglected? When the burden becomes too great, I suggest that you turn to this most unpromising of books, and read the story of Mabel Florence Timlin. Mabel Timlin, age 26 in 1917 and without a college degree, was a “good average teacher†in the elementary school in Bounty, Saskatchewan. This same Mabel Timlin finally completed her Ph.D. in economics at the University of Washington in Seattle at age 50, after 24 years of hand-to-mouth existence at the fringes of the economics department at the University of Saskatchewan. In the depression years her compensation was so meager that she, a women in her middle years, lived in one room in a house shared with students. But her thesis was a path-breaking exposition and development of the New Keynesian economics that she developed from mimeographed notes of a seminar by Keynes in London in 1934, passed to her by a colleague. Her authority on this new economics became so respected that in 1945 she gave seminars at Harvard and Columbia expositing Keynesian economics to such luminaries as Wassily Leontieff.

Suggested Citation

  • Clark, Gregory, 2001. "No Ordinary Academics: Economics and Political Science at the University of Saskatchewan, 1910–1960. By Shirley Spafford. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000. Pp. ix, 272. $45.00," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(2), pages 588-589, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:61:y:2001:i:02:p:588-589_57

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