Betty Abel, 1916-1996

By Mullen, Richard | Contemporary Review, April 1996 | Go to article overview

Betty Abel, 1916-1996


Mullen, Richard, Contemporary Review


It is with great sadness that Contemporary Review has to announce the death of Betty Abel, who for almost four decades was involved in its editorial work. Truth and learning were the guiding stars of her life in her work as a teacher and as an editor. Born in Cheshire, Betty Edwards had begun her teaching career under difficult circumstances even being bombed out of her house during the London blitz. She embodied the spirit of the North of England in her devotion to hard work, reverence for truth, detestation of snobbery, and in her strong Victorian Liberalism.

After teaching in schools herself she became a lecturer at Maria Grey College, which had been established to train teachers for secondary schools. At Maria Grey, she rapidly established a high reputation in the teaching of philosophy. One of her colleagues recalls that 'her students greatly loved her. She was never so eager as when someone needed her help.' She also spent some years teaching in Singapore and then established a link between Maria Grey and the University of Vermont, where she visited and taught. The interests in education and in philosophy, along with the shared links between Britain, the Commonwealth and the United States were of great importance in her work at Contemporary Review.

Betty Abel became involved with Contemporary Review because of her activity in the Liberal Party. In the 1950s the Review was in the final decade of the long editorship (1911-1960) of the great historian, G. P. Gooch. She also met and married the then Chairman of the Liberal Party Executive, Deryck Abel, who succeeded Dr. …

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