Find out about academic life at LSE through the years with this selection of blog posts about both influential and lesser-known academics and students from LSE’s past, and their lives on campus.

  • LSE Law Centenary – a history of the Department

LSE Law Centenary – a history of the Department

  • April 10th, 2019

This is the first in the LSE Law Centenary series of blog posts celebrating a century since the formal beginnings of a Department of Law at LSE. The Department of Law was created in 1919, formalising a tradition of teaching law at LSE since its earliest days. 

For over a century LSE has pioneered legal education and scholarship as a central part of […]

  • A brief history of Mathematics at LSE – part one 1895-1987

A brief history of Mathematics at LSE – part one 1895-1987

  • March 27th, 2019

In the first part of a new mini-series, Norman Biggs, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Mathematics, gives a brief history of mathematics at LSE. He covers the period from the foundation of LSE and evolution of the teaching of statistics, to the creation of the first Chair of Mathematics and a new BSc in the 1960s, finishing with changes afoot […]

  • Conjectures and refutations – Karl Popper and the growth of LSE Philosophy

Conjectures and refutations – Karl Popper and the growth of LSE Philosophy

  • March 20th, 2019

2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the promotion to Professor of the hugely influential philosopher, and founder of LSE’s Philosophy Department, Karl Popper. To celebrate this event Ewan Rodgers goes back to the archives to trace the story of LSE’s earliest forays into philosophy and the historical events that gave birth to the now world-renowned Department of Philosophy, Logic […]

  • Maureen Colquhoun – first openly gay woman in Parliament

Maureen Colquhoun – first openly gay woman in Parliament

  • February 13th, 2019

Women’s rights activist and former Labour Member of Parliament for Northampton North Maureen Colquhoun was elected to the House of Commons in 1974. She became the first openly gay woman to serve in Parliament after coming out a year later, write Louise Armitage and Megan Marsh. Maureen studied at LSE in the mid-late 1940s and served as a local councillor […]

  • Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, LSE and the origins of International Relations

Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, LSE and the origins of International Relations

  • December 12th, 2018

Over the past few years there has been renewed scholarly interest in the early history of the discipline of International Relations (IR) and the seminal role played by such figures as E H Carr, Hans J Morgenthau and key liberal theorists who helped build the foundations upon which the subject of IR came to be constructed in the twentieth century. Professor […]

  • Hilde Himmelweit – pioneer of social psychology

Hilde Himmelweit – pioneer of social psychology

  • November 28th, 2018

In the mid 1960s Social Psychology emerged from Sociology as an independent department – the precursor of today’s Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, looks at the career of Hilde Himmelweit who led the discipline through its formative years at LSE.

Hildegarde Therese Litthauer was born in Berlin on 20 February 1918. Her father, Dr Siegfried […]

  • A mother and daughter at LSE – Herabai and Mithan Tata

A mother and daughter at LSE – Herabai and Mithan Tata

LSE often runs in the family with several generations making their way to Houghton Street. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly writes about an unusual mother and daughter duo.

In 1919 a young Indian woman, Mithan Ardeshir Tata enrolled to study at LSE. Mithan was born in 1898 into a Parsi family in Mumbai (then known as Bombay), the daughter of Herabai […]

  • Lilian Knowles (1870-1926) – the pioneer

Lilian Knowles (1870-1926) – the pioneer

  • October 24th, 2018

Jennie Stayner introduces pioneering female academic Lilian Knowles, first female professor of Economic History at LSE, and first female Dean of Faculty in the University of London.
Intentionally or unintentionally, it seemed to be her lot to be breaking down barriers.
C M Knowles
Lilian Charlotte Anne Knowles (Tomn) was born in 1870 in Cornwall and spent a happy childhood riding horses and winning […]

  • Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972) – a term at LSE

Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972) – a term at LSE

In 1952 Kwame Nkrumah became Prime Minister of the Gold Coast and in 1957 the country gained its independence under the new name of Ghana. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, writes about Nkrumah’s brief time at LSE.

Kwame Nkrumah was born in Nkroful on the Gold Coast in 1909. The precise date of his birth is unknown but he usually gave […]

  • Lucy Philip Mair – leading writer on colonial administration, early international relations scholar, and anthropologist

Lucy Philip Mair – leading writer on colonial administration, early international relations scholar, and anthropologist

  • October 3rd, 2018

Lucy Philip Mair was a well-known anthropologist at LSE; she is far less known for her significant contributions to the history of the discipline of International Relations. Professor Patricia Owens, director of a new Leverhulme project on the history of women’s international thought, highlights this neglected, early aspect of Lucy Mair’s academic life.

Lucy Philip Mair was born on 28 […]

  • In the LSE Library archives – The founding of the Anti-Federalist League

In the LSE Library archives – The founding of the Anti-Federalist League

The early days of UKIP have its roots at LSE. Curator for Politics and International Relations Daniel Payne takes a look at the Library archives that document the development of euroscepticism in the UK.

In November 1993 the Maastricht Treaty came into force. It was a highly controversial treaty, not just for the UK, which nearly bought down John Major’s Conservative […]

  • Susan Strange – world renowned international relations scholar

Susan Strange – world renowned international relations scholar

  • September 19th, 2018

Susan Strange held the Montague Burton Chair in International Relations 1978-88 and was a world renowned leader of the field, writes Professor Patricia Owens of the University of Sussex. Susan Strange had studied at LSE and become a journalist before returning to academia. As a professor at LSE, she published her most influential books and founded the British International Studies Association. Later, she became […]

  • “Exceptional and outstanding qualities” – Professor Ragnhild Hatton (1913-1995)

“Exceptional and outstanding qualities” – Professor Ragnhild Hatton (1913-1995)

  • September 12th, 2018

For 32 years Ragnhild Hatton was a member of the International History Department. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, investigates her career as a historian and teacher of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Ragnhild Hatton was born in Bergen, Norway in 1913. Her family was well to do with links to Bergen’s shipping interests, but her father, Gustav Ingolf Hanssen was an […]

  • “A pillar of the department” – Sally Sainsbury at LSE

“A pillar of the department” – Sally Sainsbury at LSE

  • September 5th, 2018

Sally Sainsbury completed the Diploma Social Policy and Administration at LSE in 1963, before joining the Department of Social Administration to become a research assistant and a teacher. She established herself a leader in the field of disability and social policy and retired as Emeritus Reader in Social Administration, Department of Social Policy. Here, Professor David Piachaud remembers a dedicated, unstinting […]

  • Edith Abbott – pioneering American academic

Edith Abbott – pioneering American academic

  • August 29th, 2018

Edith Abbott, an economist, social worker and women’s equality campaigner, was the first American woman to be appointed the dean of a graduate school in the United States. She had studied at LSE in the early 1900s and was influenced by Beatrice and Sidney Webb’s work in social reform. 

Edith Abbott was born in Grand Island, Nebraska in 1876 to Elizabeth Maletta […]

  • Once upon a time… when Jomo Kenyatta was a student at LSE

Once upon a time… when Jomo Kenyatta was a student at LSE

  • August 15th, 2018

Victoria de Menil revisits the politics of Jomo Kenyatta’s supposedly de-political master’s thesis, later published as Facing Mount Kenya, particularly in relation to land and female circumcision. She asks who the intended audience was, and what legacy the book has left behind.
Once upon a time an elephant made a friendship with a man. One day a heavy thunderstorm broke […]

  • Alice Clark – a suffragist from LSE

Alice Clark – a suffragist from LSE

  • July 25th, 2018

Somerset-born Alice Clark came from a family of pacifist shoe-makers who were involved in the suffrage movement. LSE curator Gillian Murphy finds that Alice Clark also held a Shaw Research Studentship in economic history at LSE.

Alice Clark, daughter of Helen and William Clark, was born in Street in Somerset in 1874. She was a Quaker by birth, and also a Liberal, and her family were […]

  • Theodore Gregory and early Economics at LSE

Theodore Gregory and early Economics at LSE

Sir Theodore Gregory (1890-1970) could be said to epitomise LSE. A student and member of staff from 1910 to 1937, he was international in outlook; interested in theory, practice and history; a gifted teacher; and valued by governments and institutions across the world, writes Robert Bigg. Gregory was, appropriately, one of the inaugural Honorary Fellows of the School in 1958.

Theodor […]

  • Father by son – Lionel Robbins by Richard Robbins

Father by son – Lionel Robbins by Richard Robbins

  • June 27th, 2018

As you walk towards the Library turnstiles in the Lionel Robbins Building the bronze head of Lionel Robbins surveys the scene. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, writes about the portrait bust of Professor Lionel Robbins.

Lionel Robbins (1898-1984) first arrived at LSE in 1920 to study for the BSc (Econ). Initially he focused on the history of political ideas but also […]

  • Fred Halliday at LSE

Fred Halliday at LSE

  • June 13th, 2018

LSE Library holds the papers of the late Fred Halliday (1946-2010), former Professor of International Relations at LSE, writes Ben Martill. Fred Halliday had long ties to the School and a formidable reputation both in research and as a public intellectual.
About the Fred Halliday collection
The collection consists of over 350 files of personal effects, correspondence, memoirs, draft texts, travel-notes and work documents, […]

  • Professor Barna’s Social Survey of Stepney

Professor Barna’s Social Survey of Stepney

  • May 23rd, 2018

In 1946 Professor Tibor Barna led around 100 LSE student volunteers in a ‘Social Survey of Stepney’ and their findings are among his papers in LSE Library. The goal was to interview real Eastenders about their lives against the backdrop of postwar re-imagination of London’s East End. Inderbir Bhullar explores the archives.

This blog is about a story which, unfortunately, […]

  • The Guillebaud Report, the NHS and LSE

The Guillebaud Report, the NHS and LSE

  • May 2nd, 2018

As the NHS reaches its 70th anniversary, LSE Library’s Inderbir Bhullar explores the involvement of LSE’s Richard Titmuss and Brian Abel-Smith in the 1953 Guillebaud Report on the costs of the NHS.

On 5 July 2018 the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday. The anniversary will likely focus on how it came to be born as part of William Beveridge’s revolutionary plans for reformed social […]

  • A London Lecturer at Barnard – Eileen Power and the USA

A London Lecturer at Barnard – Eileen Power and the USA

  • April 25th, 2018

On Friday 16 March 2018 during the Singularity and Solidarity: Networks of Women at the LSE, 1895–1945  seminar, Rozemarijn van de Wal talked about her ongoing research into economic historian Eileen Power. After having found some new materials in American archives, she shared some of her initial findings in researching Eileen Power’s relationship with the United States of America.

Eileen […]

  • Dr Vera Anstey – “so absolutely sane, clear, quick, intelligent & safe”

Dr Vera Anstey – “so absolutely sane, clear, quick, intelligent & safe”

A pencil portrait of Vera Anstey hangs in the lobby of the Vera Anstey Suite in the Old Building. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, writes about the portrait and a woman connected with LSE for 55 years.

Vera Anstey retired in 1964 and following her death in 1976 the Vera Anstey Suite in the Old Building was named in Vera’s honour […]

  • Women at LSE 1895-1932 – facts and figures

Women at LSE 1895-1932 – facts and figures

  • April 4th, 2018

As part of the Singularity and Solidarity: Networks of Women at the LSE, 1895–1945 seminar to mark Women’s History Month, LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, took a look at the first volume of the LSE Register, 1895-1932 to find out more about the women who taught and studied at LSE in its early years.
“The advantages of the School will be […]

  • Eugenia Charles – DBE, Iron Lady and Mamo

Eugenia Charles – DBE, Iron Lady and Mamo

LSE Library’s Sonia Gomes explores Dame Mary Eugenia Charles’ student journey at LSE. Later Dominica’s first female prime minister, Charles came to post-war London to study law in the late 1940s before returning to the Caribbean to set up her own legal practice and, eventually, political party.

Charles was the youngest of four, born in the Caribbean island of Dominica in […]

  • Monitoring Global Poverty – Tony Atkinson and the World Bank

Monitoring Global Poverty – Tony Atkinson and the World Bank

  • March 16th, 2018

At the Beveridge 2.0 LSE Festival event Five LSE Giants’ Perspectives on Poverty, Professor Stephen Jenkins explained how the World Bank is changing its methodological approach as a result of the Monitoring Global Poverty report written by an “LSE Giant”, Professor Sir Anthony (Tony) B Atkinson (1944-2017), formerly Tooke Professor of Economic Science and Statistics, 1980–1992, and Centennial Professor, […]

  • Margaret Barbara Lambert (1906-95) – “A thorough and energetic investigator”

Margaret Barbara Lambert (1906-95) – “A thorough and energetic investigator”

  • March 9th, 2018

Historian Margaret Lambert gained a PhD in international relations at LSE in the 1930s and after the war spent much of her career as an editor-in-chief at the Foreign Office, specialising in contemporary German history. She also collected and wrote about English folk art with her partner, the designer Enid Marx. Dr Clare Taylor explores her fascinating life.

Margaret Lambert […]

  • Graham Wallas – the supreme teacher of social philosophy

Graham Wallas – the supreme teacher of social philosophy

  • January 24th, 2018

The Graham Wallas Room on the fifth floor of the Old Building is named in honour of perhaps the least known of the quartet of LSE Founders – the political psychologist, Graham Wallas (1858-1932). LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, writes about the man and his portrait recently installed in the Graham Wallas Room.

In August 1894 Graham Wallas was a house […]

  • Pioneers of the social sciences

Pioneers of the social sciences

  • December 27th, 2017

LSE is a world-leading pioneer of the social sciences. Subjects like international relations, social policy, sociology, social anthropology, social psychology and criminology all have their origins as subjects of university study in the innovative work carried out by LSE academics. Here are a selection of examples from LSE’s early years.
Accountancy
Academic accountancy in Britain was pioneered at LSE by a […]

  • James Meade, Nobel Laureate 1977

James Meade, Nobel Laureate 1977

Mervyn King remembers James Edward Meade, one of the greatest British economists. Meade taught at LSE and received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1977.  

James Meade wrote economics the old-fashioned way – with pen and paper, and working out for himself the answers from first principles.  In October 1977, James was preoccupied with putting the finishing touches to […]

  • An American in London – Ralph Bunche at LSE

An American in London – Ralph Bunche at LSE

  • October 9th, 2017

LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly introduces Nobel prize winner Ralph Bunche, who was the first black American to gain a PhD in political science. After achieving his doctorate at Harvard and teaching at Howard University, Ralph Bunche came to LSE to study anthropology under Bronislaw Malinowski during 1936-37. His later career spanned the United Nations and American civil rights movement […]

  • Jomo Kenyatta, LSE and the independence of Kenya

Jomo Kenyatta, LSE and the independence of Kenya

  • October 3rd, 2017

LSE’s Alex Free profiles Jomo Kenyatta – the first president of Kenya and an LSE graduate who came to London and studied social anthropology under Bronisław Malinowski in the 1930s. A leading pan-Africanist with an ultimately mixed political legacy in office, Kenyatta produced his famous ethnographic study of the Kikuyu, Facing Mount Kenya, while at LSE.

Jomo Kenyatta is a fascinating […]

  • Richard Titmuss and Social Policy at LSE

Richard Titmuss and Social Policy at LSE

Richard Titmuss arrived at LSE in 1950 as the School’s first Chair of Social Administration. Titmuss refocused LSE’s social policy provision towards engagement with what he termed the ‘welfare state’ and his efforts boosted the School’s reputation for academic social policy. His years of public engagement made him Britain’s leading authority on social policy and earned him a CBE […]

  • Beatrice Serota – politician and social reformer

Beatrice Serota – politician and social reformer

  • September 20th, 2017

The politician and social reformer Beatrice Serota (1919-2002) both studied and taught at LSE and later became an Honorary Fellow. She is best known for her career in government, championing an inclusive approach to social policy. LSE Curator Gillian Murphy introduces LSE Library’s archive collection covering Beatrice Serota’s working life.

Beatrice Serota was born on 15 October 1919 in London. She attended Clapton […]

  • Sydney Mary Bushell, 1880-1959

Sydney Mary Bushell, 1880-1959

  • August 30th, 2017

Sydney Mary Bushell made significant contributions to the field of housing in the 1920s, particularly women’s housing, with the Garden City and Town Planning Association and Women’s Pioneer Housing. Born in Greenwich and raised in Liverpool and Formby, Sydney attended the North London Collegiate School for Girls. After working as a welder in the First World War, Sydney enrolled […]

  • “No Major New Developments” – Sir Sydney Caine, LSE Director 1957-1967

“No Major New Developments” – Sir Sydney Caine, LSE Director 1957-1967

Sir Sydney Caine, LSE student and Director, oversaw a period of expansion and tension during the 1960s. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly investigates.
“Very dully, no doubt, in a world in which novelty is so often taken as the supreme value, I accepted—and accept—the basic character of the School.”
Sir Sydney Caine (1902-1991) is among those LSE Directors who have experienced LSE life […]

  • Norman Biggs and the History of Mathematics course at LSE

Norman Biggs and the History of Mathematics course at LSE

  • July 17th, 2017

The Department of Mathematics established its first History of Mathematics course in 2012. Five years later, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics Norman Biggs shares the story behind the founding of the course and the people involved in making it the success it is today.

By about 2010 the fledgling Mathematics Department at LSE had grown to the point where it could be […]

  • Bronislaw Malinowski – LSE pioneer of social anthropology

Bronislaw Malinowski – LSE pioneer of social anthropology

  • June 13th, 2017

2017 saw the 90th anniversary of the establishment of a Chair in Social Anthropology at LSE. The Department of Anthropology’s Katharine Fletcher looks back at its first occupant, pioneering social anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski. Malinowski was born in Poland and spent much of the First World War conducting fieldwork in the Trobriand Islands, bringing the findings of his work to LSE in the 1920s.

Ninety years ago, on […]

  • James Meade and the GATT

James Meade and the GATT

  • May 24th, 2017

LSE professor James Meade was a Nobel Prize-winning economist whose work shaped twentieth century international trade policy. His archives are held by LSE Library and featured in the exhibition A Wealth of Ideas: economics and LSE. Inderbir Bhullar, Curator of Economics and Social Policy at LSE Library, discusses Meade’s work along with that of LSE stalwarts Lionel Robbins and Hugh Dalton.

Trade agreements are […]

  • The Department of Management at LSE – reflections on the first decade

The Department of Management at LSE – reflections on the first decade

  • April 10th, 2017

Founding head Professor Saul Estrin looks back the first ten years of the Department of Management at LSE.

In the early 2000s, LSE had long been providing excellent management education but in a fragmented way. Guided by then Director Sir Howard Davies, four former departments, henceforth Groups, were merged into the new Department of Management in June 2005. I was […]

  • William Threipland Baxter – a tribute to his teaching

William Threipland Baxter – a tribute to his teaching

In 1947 William Thriepland Baxter became the first full time Professor of Accounting in Britain. Michael Bromwich and Richard Macve consider themselves fortunate to have been his students, and later his colleagues, at LSE.

William (Will) Threipland Baxter was born on 27 July 1906 in Grimsby and died on 8 June 2006 in London. He qualified as a member of the Institute […]

  • A man for all seasons – the life and times of Clement Attlee

A man for all seasons – the life and times of Clement Attlee

We can all agree that the Beveridge Report was a pivotal moment in the history of the 20th century. But without a Labour government led by Clement Attlee in 1945 there is every reason to believe that the Beveridge Report would not have been implemented in full. However, an equally strong case could be made that without Beveridge – […]

  • Anne Barbara Page “The ablest woman I have ever known”

Anne Barbara Page “The ablest woman I have ever known”

  • March 6th, 2017

LSE Women: making history celebrates some of the notable women at LSE through the years. LSE’s Candy Gibson looks back at her great aunt, Anne Barbara Page, who graduated from LSE in 1912 with a First Class Honours degree in Economics. Anne Barbara (Nancy) went on to work as private secretary for Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland, a Conservative Party Chairman and […]

  • A life of social work and friends – Eileen Younghusband

A life of social work and friends – Eileen Younghusband

  • February 27th, 2017

Highly respected outside of LSE,  Eileen Younghusband’s career in social work education began in the 1930s and continued till her death in 1981. She had never obtained a degree and was never a senior lecturer, reader or professor. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly looks back at the life of Eileen Younghusband, whose career illustrates a network of women whose professional and personal lives […]

  • Sociology and the Gay Liberation Front – Bob Mellors at LSE

Sociology and the Gay Liberation Front – Bob Mellors at LSE

On 14 October 1970 the first UK meeting of the Gay Liberation Front was held in an LSE classroom. The room was booked by Bob Mellors, a second year Sociology student. The story is told by LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly.

Bob Mellors was born on 28 October 1949 and came to LSE from Bramcote Hill Grammar School in Nottingham doing […]

  • Sir Arthur Bowley by Stella Bowen (1893-1947)

Sir Arthur Bowley by Stella Bowen (1893-1947)

Stella Bowen’s portrait of Sir Arthur Bowley hangs in the Department of Statistics. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly tells the story behind the picture.

1935 marked the retirement of Sir Arthur Bowley, one of the School’s original teachers. On 28 November 1935 the Emergency Committee agreed to commission a portrait to mark his retirement, funded by public subscription.

The committee appointed to oversee […]

  • Eslanda Robeson – acting, activism, Africa and LSE

Eslanda Robeson – acting, activism, Africa and LSE

  • October 4th, 2016

Following her review of Paul Robeson: the artist as revolutionary by Gerald Horne at the LSE Review of Books, Howard University’s Sherese R Taylor introduces the life of Eslanda Robeson, who studied at LSE in the 1930s.

Eslanda Cordozo Goode Robeson, also known as Essie, was an anti-racist, anti-colonialist, anti-capitalist, and feminist born in Washington, DC on 15 December 1895. She received a […]

  • Measuring world population at LSE – Robert René Kuczynski, an émigré scholar

Measuring world population at LSE – Robert René Kuczynski, an émigré scholar

  • September 1st, 2016

Lukas Cladders and Ursula Ferdinand share the story of world population specialist Robert René Kuczynski. He joined LSE in the 1930s after fleeing Nazi Germany, and became the first Reader in Demography in a British university in 1938.

Born in 1876 into a family of Jewish bankers in Berlin, Robert René Kuczynski studied economics and law in Freiburg and with the famous […]

  • “Bearded and rather an oddity” – Basil Bunting at LSE

“Bearded and rather an oddity” – Basil Bunting at LSE

  • April 13th, 2016

While the roll call of LSE alumni features notable journalists and novelists, one important literary figure associated with the School doesn’t feature, because he left without graduating, writes Dan Bennett. His name was Basil Bunting, and along with careers as a spy and sea captain, he was one of the key British poets of the twentieth century.

Born in 1900 […]