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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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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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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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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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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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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).

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Meyer, Eugene Isaac (31 October 1875–17 July 1959), investment banker, government official, and newspaper publisher, was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Marc Eugene Meyer, a retail merchant, and Harriet Newmark. After growing up in San Francisco, Meyer attended the University of California for one year in 1892. He was a mediocre student who spent much of his time drinking and gambling. After his freshman year, his family moved to New York City and he transferred to Yale. By working much harder academically at Yale, Meyer earned excellent grades and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After skipping his junior year, he graduated with an A.B. with honors in 1895, ranking nineteenth in a class of 250. Meyer then spent two years in Europe learning French and German and gaining work experience in banking and international finance. On returning to the United States, Meyer was employed by the international banking firm of Lazard Frères, where his father was a partner. However, because his duties there were menial compared with the work he had been doing in Europe, Meyer left the firm in 1901, much against his father’s wishes, to open his own investment firm....

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Snyder, John Wesley (21 June 1895–08 October 1985), banker, federal administrator, and secretary of the Treasury, was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, the son of Jerre Hartwell Snyder, a druggist, and Ellen Hatcher. He graduated from Jonesboro High School in 1914 and attended Vanderbilt University, seeking a degree in electrical engineering. Because of financial hardship, he left Vanderbilt in 1915 to work for his uncle, Judge E. A. Rolfe, in Forrest City, Arkansas....

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Strong, Benjamin (22 December 1872–16 October 1928), banker and governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY), banker and governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY), was born in Fishkill-on-Hudson, New York, the son of Benjamin Strong, a successful railroad manager, and Adeline Torrey Schenck. His great-grandfather, also named Benjamin Strong, had worked with ...

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Ware, Nathaniel A. (1780 or 1789–1853), territorial secretary, banker, and author, was born in the Abbeville district of South Carolina, where he taught school and studied for the bar. Nothing is known about his parentage, and little else is known about his early life in South Carolina. He moved to Natchez, Mississippi Territory, in 1811 to practice law. The War of 1812 provided this newcomer with a chance for upward mobility. A vociferous supporter of the war, he obtained the rank of major as aide-de-camp to territorial governor ...

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Harry Dexter White. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113822).

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White, Harry Dexter (09 October 1892–16 August 1948), Treasury Department official and moving force in the establishment of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Sarah Magilewski and Jacob White, Jews who had emigrated to America from Lithuania shortly before he was born. Following his graduation from high school, White worked in the family hardware business until World War I broke out, at which time he became a volunteer in the army. Commissioned as a first lieutenant, he served in France but did not engage in combat. Just before going overseas, White married Russian-born Anne Terry, who later became a successful writer of children’s books. They had two daughters....

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Wiggins, A. L. M. (09 April 1891–07 July 1980), banker, businessman, and undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury, was born Archibald Lee Manning Wiggins in Durham, North Carolina, the son of Archie Lee Wiggins and Margaret London Council. A. L. M.’s father had just started a private heating and plumbing supply business at the time of his death, when Wiggins was less than a year old. Wiggins’s mother did odd jobs—mostly sewing—to put her son through school. In the Durham city schools he acquired a love of poetry and learned to strive for excellence. It made such an impression on A. L. M. that he devoted several pages of his ...