Professor Ronald H. Coase included his essays on Alfred Marshall in his book, Essays on Economics and Economists. Because of Coase’s standing as a Nobel laureate and professor of economics at the University of Chicago, these essays have been relied on by scholars, authors, and historians researching Alfred Marshall and the wider Marshall family, including Professor Peter Groenewegen for his seminal biography, A Soaring Eagle: Alfred Marshall 1842–1924. This research shows that the supposed meeting between Charles Henry Marshall, Alfred’s uncle, and Nehemiah Bartley on the Turon goldfields, on which Coase based his claims of a deceitful and self-aggrandizing family, did not take place. Alfred did know where he was born and was happy to say so. Alfred’s grandfather, William, was not a forgotten business failure. Alfred’s father, also William, was neither disliked nor ostracized by his family despite being cantankerous and possibly brutal. He and his wife Rebecca and their children, including Alfred, were embraced and supported by the wider family. Alfred was, in fact, a product of the family much as described by his wife, Mary Paley Marshall, and John Maynard Keynes. This does not diminish his accomplishments.
The Wrong Marshall: Notes on the Marshall family in Response to Biographies of the Economist, Alfred Marshall
Megan Stevens, Alun Stevens; The Wrong Marshall: Notes on the Marshall family in Response to Biographies of the Economist, Alfred Marshall. History of Political Economy 1 April 2020; 52 (2): 239–273. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182702-8173310
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