Shirley Robin Letwin (17 February 1924 – 19 June 1993) was an American academic who lived in London.[1][2]


Early life

Shirley Robin was born in Chicago, Illinois.[1][2] Her family were Jewish immigrants from Kiev.[3][1][2] She graduated from the University of Chicago, where she was taught by Friedrich Hayek, and did graduate studies at the London School of Economics.[1][2] She decided to move to England permanently in 1965.


She taught at LSE and at Peterhouse, a college of the University of Cambridge, in the 1970s[2], a time when the college was a haunt of radical conservative thinkers focused loosely around Maurice Cowling. She wrote many books about conservatism, and one about Anthony Trollope.[4]

She met Margaret Thatcher through her friend Keith Joseph, and started working for her.[1] She also worked for the Centre for Policy Studies.[1] She was also close to Michael Oakeshott and later became his literary executor.[1][2] In 1987, she gave a lecture at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, Australia.[2]

Personal life

She was married to William Letwin.[1] They had one son, Oliver Letwin.[1][2][5][6] They lived in London, in a house overlooking Regent's Park.[1] She was an avid tennis player, and once played with Milton Friedman despite the fact that it was snowing.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Peregrine Worsthorne, Obituary: Shirley Robin Letwin, The Independent, June 22, 1993
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Kenneth Minogue, Shirley Robin Letwin, 1924-1993 Archived 2014-01-08 at the Wayback Machine, Policy, Spring 1993
  3. ^ "Obituary: Professor William Letwin". The Daily Telegraph. London: TMG. 4 March 2013. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  4. ^ Noel Annan, How Should a Gent Behave?, The New York Review of Books, February 03, 1983
  5. ^ Melanie McDonagh, Letwin's parents are the key to his soul, The Daily Telegraph, February 20, 2004
  6. ^ Michael White, Oliver Letwin: more at home in a senior common room than at a public meeting, The Guardian, December 07, 2012