Bell, Carolyn Shaw 1920-2006

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Bell, Carolyn Shaw 1920-2006


See index for CA sketch: Born June 21, 1920, in Framingham, MA; died of a degenerative neurological illness, May 13, 2006, in Arlington, VA. Economist, educator, and author. A longtime professor at Wellesley College, Bell was famous for her tireless campaign for women to excel in the financial and business worlds. After earning a B.A. in economics at Mount Holyoke College in 1941, she worked under John Kenneth Galbraith at the U.S. Office of Price Administration in Washington, DC, and then San Francisco. She next traveled to England to finish a Ph.D. at the London School of Economics in 1949. Returning home, Bell was a research economist at Harvard University from 1950 to 1953 and joined the Wellesley College faculty in 1951. She would remain at Wellesley until her retirement in 1989. Strongly believing that women could achieve leadership positions at companies and government posts in the area of economics, Bell constantly encouraged her students to achieve. Among those who attended her classes are former Tropicana chief executive Ellen Marram and former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury for economic policy Alicia Munnell. Bell herself was a founder of the American Economic Association's Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession and an advisor to President Jimmy Carter, accomplishing all this despite a severe hearing impairment. She kept tabs on her students long after they graduated, monitoring their careers and offering advice and support, while writing about their achievements in a newsletter she created. Bell was the author of two books: Consumer Choice in the American Economy (1967) and The Economics of the Ghetto (1970).



Los Angeles Times, May 31, 2006, p. B10.

New York Times, May 29, 2006, p. A17.