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A Biographical Dictionary of Women Economists

A Biographical Dictionary of Women Economists

Elgar original reference

Edited by Robert W. Dimand, Mary Ann Dimand and Evelyn L. Forget

This major original reference work includes over one hundred specially commissioned articles on the lives and writings of women who made significant contributions to economics. It sheds new light on the rich, but too often neglected, heritage of women’s analysis of economic issues and participation in the discipline of economics. In addition to those who wrote in English, some notable Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Swedish women economists are included. This book will transform widely-held views about the past role of women in economics, and will stimulate further research in this exciting but underdeveloped field. It is dedicated to the memory of Michèle Pujol, a pioneer in the field.

Priscilla Wakefield

Robert W. Dimand


Priscilla Wakefield (1751–1832) The Quaker philanthropist and author Priscilla Wakefield (née Bell) was born in Tottenham, England, on 31 January 1751, and married the London merchant Edward Wakefield on 3 January 1771. She established several savings banks (then called ‘thrift banks’). According to the Dictionary of National Biography, ‘She resided at Tottenham, and almost the first savings bank in existence was that founded by her there, in what is now the Ship Inn Yard. It was commenced under the auspices of a friendly society established by her at Tottenham on 22 Oct. 1798 … She also formed in Tottenham a charity for lying-in women in 1791.’ She was a successful children’s author: The Juvenile Travellers, an imaginary tour of Europe first published in 1801, reached its nineteenth edition in 1850, while A Family Tour through the British Empire, first published in 1804, appeared in 15 editions by 1840. Eleven editions of Wakefield’s An Introduction to Botany in a Series of Familiar Letters were published from 1796 to 1841, and it was translated into French in 1801. Kathryn Sutherland (1995) draws attention to the striking critique of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations in Wakefield’s Reflections on the Present Condition of the Female Sex, with Suggestions for its Improvement (1798). Wakefield objected that Smith ignored the exclusion of women from dignified and well-paid work, which forced women into poverty and prostitution. She proposed that, to counteract that phenomenon, male workers should be excluded...

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