- 18 Feb 1871 to 26 Jun 1951
George Udny Yule was born on the 18th February 1871, to George Udny Yule and Henrietta Peach Pemberton. Though born in Scotland, Yule’s parents moved to London when he was four, and it was there he grew up. Yule boasted an impressive military family history, and so his father wished him to become a solider. Yule, however, disagreed. He was educated at Winchester College School, which he left at sixteen to study engineering at University College, London. Yule worked various appointments in London, but the most important was that of Newmarch Lecturer in Statistics. These lectures produced a book published in 1911: An Introduction to the Theory of Statistics, a landmark text translated into many languages and reproduced in many editions.
Yule finally arrived at Cambridge as University Lecturer in Statistics in 1912—matriculated in 1913— but went on to lecture in a number of faculties. He was a Fellow of the College from 1922-1951, a member of the College Council, and a Director of Studies in Natural Sciences.
When Yule gave up his teaching post, he began devoting his time to reading. Studying the statistical similarities of vocabulary between texts led him to write Statistics of Literary Vocabulary. Yule read widely across genres and donated many books to the College, not just printed editions but four manuscript copies of De Imitatione Christi and various tracts on agriculture.
Yule died on the 26th June 1951.
Obituary in the Eagle: Vol. 55, Easter 1952, p. 89.
Accessible online at: https://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Eagle/Eagle%20Volumes/1950s/1952/Eagle_1952_Easter.pdf