Thursday, 22 January 2015

Cambridge Economists: Marjorie Tappan Hollond

The Cambridge Economists series on this blog will feature scholars who have had some kind of connection with Cambridge’s Faculty of Economics; some of these will be famous, others are unknown, or have been forgotten.

I am neither the greatest cataloguer nor a librarian who gets excited about cataloguing: after all, cataloguing is primarily helpful for readers to find what they want, and for librarians to know what is held in ‘their’ library. Because there is a basic record somewhere in the world for almost all the books I have had to catalogue so far, it is primarily a fairly uneventful affair. When I recently was about to catalogue a copy of D.H. Robertson’s Money, I found that we already had a copy of an edition in the library (Marshall Library: Rare Books 31 A 13). As the original record of this copy was not very good, I had to consult it. When I opened it, I saw the following pencil annotation:
Marshall Library book: [Rare Book] 31 A 13, showing M. Tappan Hollond's name
Because I could not quite read the name, I started googling, and with the right spelling I found eventually a page from the Archives hub, which told me that someone called Marjorie Tappan Hollond (1895-1977) had been a lecturer in Economics at Cambridge University from 1926, as well as being a Director of Studies and Lecturer at Girton College from 1923. She also was a Fellow from 1924. Some archival material relating to Tappan Hollond is held by the Girton College Archive (GCPP TAPPAN HOLLOND).

Tappan Hollond was born in New York in 1895, and came to the UK at the end of the First World War. She married Henry Arthur Hollond in 1929. Tappan Hollond published articles and reviews. She was a contemporary and colleague of the (now) more famous Joan Robinson, and seems to have been more interested in teaching than in publishing economic theories (compare to Marjorie Shepherd Turner, Joan Robinson and the Americans, M. E. Sharpe, 1989, pp. 22-24, Marshall Library: B10 G 26).

To give you a flavour of Tappan Hollond’s writing and thinking, I quote from her review of The Law and the Constitution by W. I. Jennings (review published in The Cambridge Law Journal, Vol. 5, No. 2 (1934), p. 300):

Legal study and the several branches of political and economic science are conspicuous by their absence from the volume. Presumably the lawyer and the economist proved, each in his way, too hard a nut for even the most competent of editors to crack. No meat, at least, has come forth. But workers in these fields are not to infer that the book is not for them unless, indeed, they claim to be exceptionally dull dogs or all-knowing ones. […] The book as a whole serves, as its editor intended, to break down the principle of 'the closed shop,' and to unite its readers upon the common ground of good learning.

So don’t underestimate the work of a cataloguer! S/he might discover an economist who has been forgotten!