Olive Marjorie Stone (LSE Law Lecturer, 1949-1977)

stone, olive

Dr Olive Marjorie Stone was an internationally-renowned scholar of family law who taught at LSE from 1949 to 1977. Stone came to LSE as an evening student in 1945, reading for the BSC Economics Degree in the evening and working as a Civil Servant at the Foreign Office during the day. She left LSE 32 years later, retiring as a Reader in Law in 1977 and holding the degrees of BSC (1947), LLB (1949), and PhD (1965). Stone began teaching in the Law Department as an Occasional Tutor upon registering as a doctoral candidate in 1949. In 1950 she was appointed Assistant Lecturer. She was promoted to a Lectureship in 1952 (during which year she also practised as a barrister from Gray’s Inn) and then to a Readership in 1964. Stone’s research and teaching spanned domestic Family Law (the lectures for which underpinned her 1977 book Family Law), Administration of Estates and Trusts, Conflict of Laws, Jurisprudence, and Comparative Family Law. Stone wrote on subjects ranging from judicial definitions of income to the status of women; but she wrote most of all about family law, taking a comparative approach to the subject that reflected her fluency in French, German, and Spanish and that was an especially distinctive contribution at a time when family law was rarely taught in law faculties. Stone did a great deal to establish family law as an LLB and LLM subject in this respect. After all – as she put it in the Journal of the Society of Public Teachers of Law in 1960 – “[o]ur major function [as teachers of law] is to teach students not what, but how, to think, and it is in the areas most likely to be clouded by emotion and cluttered with prejudice that this function is most usefully employed”. Following her death on November 30 1990, the Olive Stone Memorial Scholarship was established under the terms of a bequest to LSE to “enable female students of 25 years and over who would not otherwise be able to do so to study [law] at the School”.