Professor Mary Turner

Thursday 31 January 2013

It was with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Professor Mary Turner on 22 January 2013 after a brief illness. Born in Hull in East Yorkshire, she studied history at the University of Manchester. She moved to Jamaica in the early 1950s and developed a life-long fascination for the history of the region. Mary returned to London later in the decade to undertake a PhD. Her long and distinguished career as a teacher and scholar culminated with a Chair in History at Dalhousie University, Canada. Her pioneering work in the field of Caribbean history is perhaps best known through her 1982 monograph Slaves and Missionaries: the Disintegration of Jamaican Slave Society 1787-1834 which remains a key work in the field. She nurtured the careers of many generations of scholars and was an active member of the Association of Caribbean Historians. Inside and outside academia she was a committed campaigner, taking part in the famous Aldermaston marches of the 1950s, visiting Paris during the protests of 1968, and participating in Canada's longest ever academic strike while at Dalhousie. Following her retirement from Dalhousie, Mary played an extremely energetic role within the Institute of Commonwealth Studies as a Senior Research Fellow. The director of the Institute, Professor Philip Murphy, commented “Mary was a genuinely inspirational figure. She enriched the lives of so many different people. While we mourn her passing, I think everyone here at the Institute feels privileged to have known her, and extremely lucky to have had her as a colleague. We send our deepest condolences to her family and friends.”