Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Female Students of Ludwig von Mises

As a follow up to my post, Where Are All the Female Libertarian Economists? a friend points me to this section in Mises:The Last Knight of Liberalism by Jörg Guido Hülsmann.
Mises’s own private seminar started on November 26, 1919 with a talk by Elisabeth Ephrussi on Carver’s theory of interest. Subsequent speakers included Strigl, Tugendhat, and Sommer. The sessions of the “privatissimum,” as Mises called it, probably took place in his offices in the Kammer. In any case this is where the seminar met in later years, when admission would be limited to participants with a doctoral degree. The degree could be in any science; the purpose of the requirement was only to assure the person’s aptitude for scientific research. 
He wholeheartedly supported his female students as a matter of course, placing for example Marianne von Herzfeld and Helene Lieser as economists with the Association of Austrian Banks and Bankers. Helene Lieser was the first woman in Austria to obtain a doctorate in government science. She went on to become Secretary of the International Economic Association in Paris. Another female student, Martha Stephanie Braun, who later taught at Brooklyn College and New York University, recalled,

 Professor von Mises never restrained any participant in the choice of a topic he or she wanted to discuss. . . . I have lived in many cities and belonged to many organizations. I am sure there does not exist a second circle where the intensity, the interest and the intellectual standard of the discussions is as high as it was in the Mises Seminar.

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