Social Change in the Industrial Revolution: An Application of Theory to the British Cotton Industry

By Neil J. Smelser | Go to book overview

PREFACE

The Society of Fellows of Harvard University ranks high among those who have facilitated my progress in this study. Their generous purse not only sent me abroad for research in 1956-7, but also, during my term as Junior Fellow between 1955 and 1958, relieved me of all necessity to earn a living. Less tangible, but more important, I feel, was the Society's general atmosphere, which breeds a faith in free and imaginative inquiry.

Those who read these pages will be aware of the gratitude which I now record for Talcott Parsons. Over a number of years -- as teacher, critic, and collaborator -- he contributed in innumerable ways to this study, both before its inception and during its development. Professor W. W. Rostow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology offered particularly clear and helpful direction in the early stages of research and in the later revisions. To him I owe thanks for the advice to limit the study to a single industry. In somewhat extended conversations, both at Harvard and in London, with H. L. Beales, formerly of the London School of Economics, I gained many substantive suggestions and a mountain of source references. I should like also to include conversations, helpful in a variety of ways, with the following men: E. J. Hobsbawm of Birkbeck College, London; K. E. Berrill of St. Catharine's College, Cambridge; P. Mathias of Queens' College, Cambridge; M. M. Postan, Professor of Economic History, Cambridge; W. H. Chaloner, H. A. F. Turner, A. E. Musson, and A. B. L. Rodgers, of Manchester University. Bernard P. Cohen, now at Stanford University, reviewed some of the statistics in the appendices. More generally, I should like to extend long-overdue thanks to my tutors at Oxford, G. D. N. Worswick and Kenneth Tite of Magdalen College. Between 1952 and 1954, when I was their pupil, they imparted a great sense of curiosity over many issues in British social and economic history -- a curiosity which extended through this study and which continues.

Quiet though indispensable contributors to the long research were the staffs of several libraries: the British Museum; the British Library of Political and Economic Science; the Manchester Central Library; Chetham's Library, Manchester; the Manchester University Library; the University of London Library, Senate House, especially the Goldsmith's Library of Economic Literature; and Widener Library, Harvard University. I harbour a special attachment to the reading-

-xi-

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