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Bissell, Richard Mervin, Jr. (18 September 1909–07 February 1994), economics professor and government administrator, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Richard Bissell, a wealthy insurance executive, and Marie Truesdel. As a young man, Bissell studied at elite educational institutions, including Groton School; Yale University, where he received a B.A. in 1932; and the London School of Economics, where he began his postgraduate work. In 1933 he returned to Yale as an instructor and was promoted to assistant professor before earning his Ph.D. in economics in 1939. In 1940 he married Ann Cornelia Bushnell; they had five children. Described by one friend as “desperately shy,” Bissell seemed destined in 1941 to remain a university educator and scholar. However, the outbreak of World War II dramatically changed his life, as he left Yale to become a member of ...

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Burns, Arthur Frank (27 April 1904–26 June 1987), economist and government official, was born in the Jewish ghetto of Stanislau, Austria, the son of Nathan Burns, a housepainter, and Sarah Juran. Burns immigrated to the United States with his family in 1914, settling in Bayonne, New Jersey. He worked his way through Columbia University, earning an A.B. and an A.M. in 1925 and a Ph.D. in economics in 1934....

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Joseph M. Dodge Right, receiving the Medal for Merit from Secretary of War Robert Patterson, 1946. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113821).

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Dodge, Joseph Morrell (18 November 1890–02 December 1964), banker and government financial official, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Joseph Cheeseman Dodge, an artist, and Gertrude Hester Crow. After graduating from Central High School in Detroit in 1908, Dodge became a clerk for the Standard Accident Insurance Company. In 1909 he joined the Central Savings Bank, where he advanced from messenger to general bookkeeper. After brief employment as an accountant, Dodge spent five years beginning in 1911 as a bank and securities examiner for the state of Michigan. He then went to work for the Bank of Detroit as an operating officer in 1916. In that same year he married Julia Jane Jeffers, and they had one son....

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Douglas, Lewis Williams (02 July 1894–07 March 1974), businessman and government official, was born in Bisbee, Arizona, the son of James Stuart Douglas, a mine owner and banker, and Josephine Leah Williams. In 1906 he was sent east to be educated and subsequently attended the Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York, the Montclair Military Academy in New Jersey, and Amherst College in Massachusetts, from which he graduated in 1916. In addition, he spent a year (1916–1917) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying geology and metallurgy. During World War I, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the field artillery and was a participant in the Argonne offensive of 1918. After the war, he took temporary positions as a history instructor at Amherst and a teacher of chemistry at the Hackley School but in 1921 decided to return to Arizona, where he became engaged in copper mining and citrus fruit growing near the town of Jerome. In 1921 he married Margaret “Peggy” Zinsser; they had three children....

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Eccles, Marriner Stoddard (09 September 1890–18 December 1977), banker and chair of the Federal Reserve Board, was born in Logan, Utah, the son of David Eccles, a lumber supplier and mill owner, and Ellen Stoddard. Marriner, the oldest of nine children, was raised in a family of converts to Mormonism. He attended Brigham Young College, which doubled as a high school and junior college, from which he graduated in 1909....

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Edwards, Corwin D. (01 November 1901–20 April 1979), economist and government official, was born in Nevada, Missouri, the son of Granville Dennis Edwards, a teacher and minister, and Ida May Moore. Edwards graduated from the University of Missouri with an A.B. in 1920 and a B.J. in 1921, and was a Rhodes Scholar in 1924. He received a Ph.D. in economics from Cornell in 1928. In 1924 he married Janet Morris Ward; they had two children. This marriage ended in divorce in 1947, and in 1948 Edwards married Gertrud Greig, a research associate....

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Goldenweiser, Emanuel Alexander (31 July 1883–31 March 1953), economist and author, was born in Kiev, Russia, the son of Alexander Solomonovich Goldenweiser, a lawyer, criminologist, and author of books on law and sociology, and Sofia Munstein. His father was also a friend and personal adviser to Count Leo Tolstoy. In 1902 Goldenweiser graduated from the First Kiev Gymnasium and then emigrated to the United States, where he was admitted to Columbia University. After receiving a B.A. from Columbia in 1903, he entered Cornell University, earning an M.A. in 1905 and a Ph.D. in 1907. In that latter year he also became a naturalized American citizen....

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Harding, William Proctor Gould (05 May 1864–07 April 1930), banker and governor of the Federal Reserve Board, was born in Greene County, Alabama, the son of Horace Harding, a civil engineer, and Eliza Proctor Gould. After receiving both his A.B. (1880) and his A.M. (1881) from the University of Alabama, Harding became a bookkeeper in the private bank J. H. Fitts & Co. in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1882. He moved to Birmingham in 1886 and worked as bookkeeper, assistant cashier, and cashier at Berney National Bank until 1896, when he became vice president of First National Bank of Birmingham. In June 1902 he was promoted to president, a position he held until 1914. As president of a large southern bank, Harding became familiar with the problems of cotton farmers, steel manufacturers, and merchants. He married Amanda Perrine Moore in Birmingham in 1895, and they had three daughters before her death in 1910....

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Leon Henderson Testing the first of the "Victory" bicycles built without strategic war materials; an OPA stenographer is sitting in the parcel basket. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-102599).

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Henderson, Leon (26 May 1895–19 October 1986), economist and government official, was born in Millville, New Jersey, the son of Chester Henderson, a glass factory worker, and Lida Beebe. When Leon was twelve years old, his father bought a farm with the family’s savings, leaving nothing for Henderson’s further education. While working odd jobs, Henderson graduated from Millville High School in 1913. After a semester at the University of Pennsylvania (having dropped out because of money problems), and with the help of a scholarship, he enrolled at Swarthmore college in 1915. When the United States entered World War I, Henderson enlisted in the army. Discharged in 1919, he returned to Swarthmore, graduating in 1920. From 1920 to 1922 he was a graduate student in economics at the University of Pennsylvania and then became an assistant professor of economics at Carnegie Institute of Technology. Next he joined the administration of Pennsylvania governor ...

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Jesse H. Jones Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-90437).

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Jones, Jesse Holman (05 April 1874–01 June 1956), businessman, federal agency head, and cabinet member, was born in Robertson County, Tennessee, the son of William Hasque Jones and Anne Holman, farmers and merchants. Jones’s mother died when he was six. In 1883 the family moved to Dallas, Texas, where his father helped manage the expanding lumber business of his brother M. T. Jones. In 1886 the family returned to north central Tennessee, where his father purchased a 600-acre farm and resumed an active interest in the tobacco business. Despite the family’s modest wealth and comfortable home life, at age fourteen Jones left school and began grading, buying, and selling tobacco for his father and uncles. His father offered to send him to college, but Jones was anxious to make money. When his father died in 1894, Jones became the Dallas branch manager for M. T. Jones Lumber Company. When M. T. Jones died in 1898, Jones moved to Houston to become general manager of the company and an executor of the $1 million estate....

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Kennedy, Joseph Patrick (06 September 1888–18 November 1969), businessman and public official, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Patrick Joseph Kennedy, a saloonkeeper and politician, and Mary Hickey. Kennedy’s perspective on life grew out of his origins in the Irish districts of Boston at the turn of the century. Grandson of an Irish immigrant and son of a prosperous ward leader of the Democratic party, his childhood swirled about friends and relatives, the culture of the Roman Catholic church, and politics. While he was proud of his Irish heritage and profited mightily from family and group associations, he came to understand that advancement to a higher level of power and status necessitated moving beyond an Irish identity....

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Keyserling, Leon (22 January 1908–09 August 1987), chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, the son of William Keyserling and Jennie Hyman, owners of varied agricultural and mercantile enterprises. Keyserling, a bright student, finished public school in Beaufort, South Carolina at the age of sixteen. Entering Columbia University, he studied with ...

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Knox, John Jay (19 March 1828–09 February 1892), banker and regulator of national banks, was born in Augusta, New York, the son of John J. Knox and Sarah Ann Curtiss. His father established the Bank of Vernon in 1839, and Knox became a teller there after graduating from Hamilton College in 1849. He was a teller in the Burnet Bank in Syracuse from 1852 to 1856, when he joined the Susquehanna Valley Bank in Binghamton as cashier. Knox had been involved in organizing both of these upstate New York banks. Together with a younger brother he conducted a private banking business in St. Paul, Minnesota, from 1857 to 1862....

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Leffingwell, Russell C. (10 Sept. 1878–2 Oct. 1960), lawyer, financier, and federal government official, was born Russell Cornell Leffingwell in New York City to Mary Cornell Leffingwell and Charles Russell Leffingwell. Charles Leffingwell, whose ancestors played a major role in the development of colonial and revolutionary Connecticut, operated his wife’s family’s lucrative iron business. He sent his son to fine private schools, first to Yonkers Military Academy and then to New York City’s Halsey School, where he graduated in ...

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Lubin, Isador (09 June 1896–06 July 1978), economist and government official, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of Lithuanian and Polish Jewish immigrants Harris Lubin and Hinda Francke. His father owned a store in Worcester that sold work clothes on credit. While attending high school and Clark University in Worcester, from which he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1916, Lubin worked for his father as a bill collector. This experience showed him the vicissitudes of industrial labor and the need for unemployment insurance. Frequently, his father’s customers could not pay because of seasonal mill layoffs. In college, Lubin became intrigued with the writings of ...

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Merriam, William Rush (26 July 1849–18 February 1931), banker, Minnesota governor, and director of the 1900 census, was born at Wadham’s Mills, Essex County, New York, the son of John Lafayette Merriam, a merchant and iron ore dealer, and Mahala Kimpton De Lano. His mother died in 1857, and his father married Helen M. Wilder. In 1861 he moved with his family to St. Paul, Minnesota, joining his stepuncle, Amherst H. Wilder, who had moved from New York two years earlier. Merriam’s father, who was often associated in business with Wilder, soon achieved prominence and wealth through investments in stagecoaches, railroads, and banks....

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Eugene Meyer. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105094).