Originally from a market-gardening family in rural North County Dublin, Robert Leonard is an intellectual historian based in Montreal at the University of Quebec (UQAM). A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, where he first read the work of E. F. Schumacher, he has worked on Wall St. and in construction in New York city. Holding a PhD from Duke University, he has written extensively about the history of economic ideas and lectured widely throughout North America and Europe. His 2010 book, Von Neumann, Morgenstern and the Creation of Game Theory (Cambridge U.P.) received the Spengler Prize for best monograph from the History of Economics Society.
A lifelong birdwatcher, natural historian and lover of the countryside, Leonard was brought back to Schumacher by a decade spent living in rural Quebec. There, from a natural garden that thrummed with birds, bees and life, he observed in the fields beyond the desecration and sterility caused by modern agricultural methods. It provoked not so much an epiphany as a reassertion of older, deeper interests, with readings in economic theory giving way to the re-reading of Schumacher and the exploration of Ellul, Illich, Kohr and others. Leonard found his way to the Schumacher archives, connected with the wider family, and is now writing an intellectual biography of the man. Please e-mail him for talks on this and related subjects.