Shackle Papers

Scope and Content

Material relating to books and articles published by George Lennox Sharman Shackle and correspondence and papers received by him.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Lennox Sharman Shackle was born on the 14 July 1903 and attended the Perse School, Cambridge his father Robert Shackle, a school master (at the Perse School) who specialised in mathematics could not afford to send his son to university so George Shackle entered employment, first as a bank clerk and then for ten years as a school master at Perse School. George Shackle successfully completed an external degree at London University. Shackle was first inspired to become an economist after reading A Treatise on Money by John Maynard Keynes and Prices and production by Friedrich A. von Hayek.

Shackle's first steps as an economist came when he published an article in the London School of economics student magazine, despite not being one of L.S.E's students the Registrar was so impressed with the article that he invited Shackle to apply for a Leverhulme Research Scholarship. Shackle successfully obtained the scholarship and began his p.h.d in January 1935 , he completed hi P.h.D. in 1937 and his thesis entitled Expectations, Investments and Income was published in 1938. After completing his P.h.D. Shackle went on to new College Oxford to take a D.Phil and worked at the Oxford university Institute of Statistics, with the intervention of the war, Shackle worked in Sir Winston Churchill's Statistical branch in the Admiralty and Cabinet Office and in 1945 joined the Economic Section of the Cabinet Secretariat. After the war Shackle worked for a short period of time in 1950 at Leeds University before in 1951 taking up the Brunner professorship of Economic Science in the University of Liverpool, Shackle remained at Liverpool for 18 years, retiring as Professor Emeritus in 1969. Despite his retirement, Shackle's work was prolific, writing research papers and books at a phenomenal rate.

George Shackle one of the leading economic philosophers of the twentieth century and made considerable contributions to the theory of choice under uncertainty, to economic method and the history of economic thought, and to monetary and macro economic theory. He became famed for not only the content of his work but also for his superior writing style, which made his work a joy to read. George Shackle appealed to a wide array of economic theorists and influenced economists from the Austrian, behavioural and Post Keynesian schools of economics and hermeneutic method. Apart from being an eminent economist George Shackle was also a much loved and respected man. J.L. Ford who first met Shackle whilst an undergraduate in Liverpool University in 1957 described him in 1992 as "...a most modest and kind person, ever willing to assist those, young and old, who seek his help with the unravelling of economic theory. As with all true scholars and researchers of distinction, professors Shackle's byword is humility." (Ford, K. 1992, p.71)

George Shackle died on the 3 March 1992 caused by complications following a fall in early Autumn of 1991 in which he suffered a broken femur.

The Biographical History uses extensively the introduction to Economics as an Art of Thought by Peter E. Earl and Stephen F. Froven and Joan Robinson, 1903-1983, and George Shackle, 1903-1992 edited by Mark Blaug.


Material has been divided into 2 subfonds; Material by Shackle and Correspondence. This is then divided into series. Material by Shackle is divided into material related to the various books he had published. The material has been listed following Shackle's original arrangement as far as possible. The rest is then divided into reviews, offprints, lectures and miscellaneous (which contains some unpublished material). The correspondence is then listed in date order to make up the second subfonds.

Access Information

The collection is open to bona fide researchers.

Acquisition Information

The papers were donated to the university library in 1969.

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this finding aid is available for consultation in the reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction and Licensing Rules available on request.


There are no anticipated accruals.