Orton, William Aylott

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Philosopher, economist; b. Bromley, England, Feb. 9, 1889; d. Northampton, Mass., Aug. 13, 1952. He was the son of William Amor and Emma (Aylott) Orton. During World War I he served in the British army at Gallipoli, and in Egypt and France. He was wounded at the Battle of the Somme and later joined the intelligence staff of the British War Office. In 1917 he married Olmen Marlais Moment. Orton received the B.A. degree from Cambridge University, England, in 1919, and then entered the industrial relations department of the Ministry of Labour. Later, while studying at the University of London, he won the London Athenaeum's essay contest and published essays and articles in the Westminster Review and the New Age. After receiving the M.A. degree from Cambridge University, he went to the United States to join the faculty of Smith College, Northampton, Mass.; Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pa.; and the University of California at Berkeley. He was awarded honorary degrees by the University of London; Boston College, Boston, Mass.; and Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. He published articles in popular magazines and in the American Journal of Sociology, International Journal of Ethics, American Economic Review, and Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences. Among his books were America in Search of Culture (1933), Prelude to Economics (1933), The Economic Role of the State (1949), and The Liberal Tradition (1945). In his writings Orton often referred to Catholic history and to classic literature. In his public lectures he frequently urged the people of the United States to accept the role of leadership in the modern world. Although aware of the value of conservative philosophy, he believed that the liberal viewpoint alone assumed responsibility for the future and was based on the confident outlook of Christianity.

[j. r. betts]