Mabel Timlin

Mabel Frances Timlin, OC, FRSC, economist, professor (born 6 December 1891 in Forest Junction, Wisconsin; died 19 September 1976 in Saskatoon, SK). Timlin was an influential economist best known for her interpretation of Keynesian economics. Although she became a professor relatively late in her career, Timlin achieved a series of firsts as a Canadian woman in her field. She remained at the University of Saskatchewan throughout her career.

Education and Early Career

Mabel Timlin completed high school in Wisconsin Rapids in 1910. For the next two years, she trained as a teacher at the Milwaukee State Normal School in Wisconsin. She taught elementary school for several years in Wisconsin.

In 1917, Timlin immigrated to Saskatchewan. She first worked as a rural teacher before moving to Saskatoon. She took a course at the Saskatoon Business College and taught various subjects at night school. Timlin joined the University of Saskatchewan as a secretary in 1921. She also enrolled in classes there. She graduated with a BA in 1929, at the age of 37. That year, she became the director of the school’s correspondence courses. She continued her studies while working full-time at the university. In 1935, she was appointed an instructor of economics.

Timlin completed her PhD at the University of Washington in 1940.


The University of Saskatchewan appointed Mabel Timlin assistant professor of economics in 1941 and associate professor in 1946. In 1950, she was made full professor. This appointment made her the first Canadian woman economist to get tenure. She applied her analytical skills to theoretical and policy issues, in particular a critique of postwar monetary policy. She retired as a professor in 1959.

Timlin was the first woman president of the Canadian Political Science Association (1959–60). She also served on the executive of the American Economic Association (1958–60).


Mabel Timlin is best known for her book Keynesian Economics, first published in 1942. Based on her PhD thesis, it was a pioneering and influential interpretation of Keynes’s General Theory (see Keynesian Economics). She also published Does Canada Need More People? (1951) and, with Albert FaucherThe Social Sciences in Canada: Two Studies (1968).


Mabel Timlin was elected to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) in 1951. She was the RSC’s first woman Fellow from a social sciencefield. The University of Saskatchewan awarded her an honorary Doctor of Laws in 1969. Timlin was made a Member of the Order of Canadain 1976.