Alfred Marshall’s window on the emerging historical profession: 1871–1873

Simon J. Cook, Oded Y. Steinberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The historical profession in Oxbridge underwent dramatic change during the 1860s and 1870s. From an amateur profession, lacking a substantial curriculum, it became an established profession with canonical figures and set-texts. Parallel to the emergence of a new academic history in the early 1870s, Alfred Marshall (1842–1924) a young Cambridge don and moral scientist (and later famous economist) was engaged in wide reading of historical literature. The essay identifies three stages in Marshall’s historical reading, as evidenced by the notes he took, an essay he wrote at this time, and the historical sections of his later published economic works. The three stages illuminate the emerging historical profession, especially in Cambridge.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)110-129
Number of pages20
JournalGlobal Intellectual History
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 May 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Alfred Marshall
  • E.A. Freeman
  • Henry Maine
  • Moral Sciences Tripos
  • comparative method
  • history


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