Dorothy Marshall was born in Lancashire and educated at the Park School, Preston. She read History at Girton 1918-22, spending her fourth year as a J F Cairnes Research Scholar in Economic History. At Girton she was taught by Eileen Power whose inspiration and methods were an influence throughout her own academic life. After Tripos she started research for her PhD, first at Girton then at the London School of Economics. She received her doctorate in 1926 and her thesis was published the same year as 'The English Poor in the Eighteenth Century'. This book made a permanent contribution to English social history and helped to launch her academic career at a time when jobs were scarce.
She taught history for a short time in Reigate and held temporary lectureships at Vassar in the US and Witwatersrand, Johannesburg before taking up mainstream academic posts first at Bedford College, London (1930-34) then at Durham (1934-36) and finally at the University College of South Wales, Cardiff (1936-67). One of her first pupils was Roy Jenkins who attributed his university place at Oxford to her teaching.
Dorothy Marshall's major publications appeared between 1965 and 1968 when a series of books on the eighteenth century made her one of the key interpreters of that period. She was elected an honorary fellow of her college in Cardiff in 1981 and was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University of Lancaster in 1984. She retired in 1967 to Old Hutton in the Lake District.
The papers comprise lecture notes, diaries, newspaper cuttings, unpublished and published works (including an autobiographical memoir), correspondence and miscellaneous items.
The papers (in two large cartons) were deposited in Girton College Archive on 16 October 1995 by David Edge Marshall (Dorothy Marshall's nephew) of Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire.
The papers were in no particular order (although labels on bundles have been retained). They fall into 4 areas: personal and biographical; published works; unpublished works and academic work. A few additional items are arranged under miscellaneous.