About The Brookings Institution: Papers from the Committee on the History of the Federal Reserve System Project

In 1954, the Rockefeller Foundation awarded a grant to the Brookings Institution to undertake "a comprehensive history of the Federal Reserve System, including the editing for publication of certain source materials, the writing of biographic sketches of some of the most important figures, the composing of books, monographs, and articles on special facets of the structure which emerge as of particular interest, and perhaps a popular history or two designed for the wide reading public." The study would cover the entire Federal Reserve System, including the twelve regional Reserve Banks. Between 1954 and 1956, Mildred Adams, the project director, and her staff compiled research and archival materials, located pertinent personal papers, and conducted a series of personal interviews with former and working Federal Reserve personnel and others important to the history of the Federal Reserve System. From 1956 to 1958, the Brookings Institution assumed executive and administrative control of the project. Among its accomplishments were the discovery and report of 106 pertinent collections of personal papers and the deposit of several of these into repositories; an inventory of the Carter Glass Papers held at the University of Virginia; Mildred Adams's personal interviews with people affiliated with the Federal Reserve System; the compilation of bibliographical and biographical card files; the completion of a biography of Benjamin Strong by Lester V. Chandler; and some unpublished studies, including "Selective Credit Controls" by Carl Perry and "Legal Aspects of the Lending Function of Federal Reserve Banks" by Howard Hackley. The project was terminated in 1958.

The research of this Committee was referenced frequently by Dr. Allan Meltzer in his A History of the Federal Reserve. Volume I: 1913-1951. As we look forward to the celebration of the Centennial of the Federal Reserve System in 2013-2014, it is particularly apropos to look back at this impressive collection that documents the first 50 years of the System.