Although he was born in Cambridge, England, late in 1889, George Douglas Howard Cole spent most of his life in Oxford, first as a student and later as a professor. It was during his undergraduate years that Cole developed his passion for socialism. First as a member of the Fabian Society and then as a worker in the Independent Labour Party, he began to make a name for himself among the radical elements in Great Britain in the years before World War I. It was while he was a member of the Fabian Research Department that he met Margaret Isabel Postgate, to whom he was married in 1918.
Born Margaret Isabel Postgate, Margaret Cole was also a native of Cambridge and took her degree at Cambridge University and served as classical mistress at St. Paul’s Girls’ School in London between 1914 and 1916. Like her husband, Margaret Cole was very interested in adult education, and for a quarter of a century she helped combat illiteracy. Although the Coles became permanent residents of Oxford in 1925, when G. D. H. Cole became a fellow of University College and university reader in economics, they kept a residence in London and remained actively involved in the political life of the capital. Three children did not deter either Cole from pursuing a career, remaining involved in socialist circles, and publishing a remarkable number of books and pamphlets.
During his years at Oxford, G. D. H. Cole distinguished himself as a leading economist, and he gathered around him a group of students and teachers who still remain very active in the political and economic life of Great Britain. G. D. H. Cole died in 1959 after a long illness. Awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1965 and made a dame of the British Empire in 1970, Margaret Cole survived her husband by twenty-one years, dying in a nursing home at Goring-on-Thames (near Oxford) in 1980.