It is with sorrow that we report that our long-time contributor, editorial board member, and true scholarly friend, Sir Edward Anthony Wrigley FBA, passed away on 24 February 2022 at the age of 90. A pioneer in the field of historical demography and social and economic history more broadly; co-founder (with Peter Laslett) of the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure (1964); author of numerous pathbreaking books, most notably perhaps The Population History of England, 1541–1871, published in 1981 with co-author Roger S. Schofield; and contributor of six articles to JIH, Tony’s deft facility for asking the most important questions, his compelling historical reason, elegant prose, and critical editorial pen, will all be sorely missed. The historical profession has truly lost one of its giants, and for those of us dedicated to the enterprise of interdisciplinary historical investigation, one of our most creative guiding voices.
A Cambridge man from his undergraduate days at Peterhouse beginning in 1949, he remained for his postgraduate studies and a long tenure as a Fellow of Peterhouse until 1979. Moving to the London School of Economics, he served as a Professor of Population Studies for nearly a decade. In 1988 he became a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, returning to Cambridge for the final years of his active academic career as a Professor of Economic History for the period 1994–1997. His last two publications in the JIH appeared as recently as 2020, one a special essay on “The Interplay of Demographic, Economic, and Social History” for our 50th anniversary volume, and the other a reply to a Research Note submitted by a fellow economic historian to his 2018 research article, “Reconsidering the Industrial Revolution: England and Wales.” This was nearly four decades after his first publication for us on “The Prospects for Population History.” In 1985, he and his co-author Roger Schofield expertly offered their services as editors for a special issue of the Journal on “Population and Economy: From the Traditional to the Modern World.” Thus was Wrigley active in all aspects of the scholarly enterprise of JIH, and elsewhere, until nearly the final years of his long life.
The Editors of the JIH will miss Tony immensely, of course for the always exciting research that he submitted for our review, as well as for his decades of service providing discerning comments on the work of so many others. His prodigious legacy of books, articles, students, colleagues, institutions, and even a small mountain of anonymous reviewer reports, will, we hope, carry his wisdom, insight, perseverance, and genuine love of the past to many generations yet to come.