In this year of many challenges, the FRASER team tracked the impacts of COVID-19 on the nation’s economy with the COVID-19 Timeline and began to build a collection of documents, publications, and legislation related to the pandemic and the responses of state and federal agencies. We also looked back at how the economy has responded to pandemics in the past and continued to look ahead by adding thousands of new items to our digital library of economic and financial history. 

Federal Reserve Materials

New issues of Fed research publications were added throughout 2020, with the addition of some new titles along the way, including Economic Insights of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and Research Review of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Our collection of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Economic Trends was enhanced with the addition of the publication’s archives. Also, two retired publications of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Regional Economic Development and International Economic Trends, were made available on FRASER in 2020.

FRASER’s collection of the speeches and statements of Fed leaders grew in 2020 with the addition of those of current and former presidents of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. As we do every year, we also added statements and speeches that Board of Governors members made in the previous year.  The 2019 additions include the speeches of Governor Michelle W. Bowman, who took office in November 2018. Calendars of former Chair of the Board of Governors Janet Yellen and current Chair Jerome Powell were added to FRASER’s collection of Calendars of Federal Reserve Chairs

FRASER is the largest repository of Federal Reserve statistical releases, and this year our collection expanded with the addition of the E.5 Choosing a Credit Card release and over 1,100 issues of the H.15 Selected Interest Rates release. Detailed reports and data from the Federal Reserve Payments Study were also made available for the years 2001-2020. 

Archival Collections

In 2020 the FRASER team continued to work closely with our partners to acquire, digitize, and make research materials available on FRASER. Through our partnership with the National Archives, we digitized additional material from the records of the Federal Reserve System in our collection. This group of materials includes the records of the Committee on Branch, Group, and Chain Banking from 1909 to 1954, as well as records from 1936 to 1959 related to the Bank Suspensions Study of 1936. In partnership with Princeton University Library’s Public Policy Papers Collection, the papers of Paul A. Volcker, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve from 1979 to 1987, were digitized and added to FRASER in 2020. This collection of correspondence, reports, speeches, and memoranda provides insight into an era of political challenges and economic turmoil due to rising inflation in the 1970s and 1980s and the monetary policies adopted by the Federal Reserve Board to curb the rate of inflation. 

Excerpt from a 1942 Treasury press release announcing a collaboration with Disney.

Through a partnership with the United States Treasury, the FRASER team added a large collection of that department’s historical press releases. This treasure trove contains over a century of publicity materials, letters, speeches, statements, and reports from the Treasury and its officials and related bureaus from 1916 to 2020. With material shared by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the team also added a collection of that agency’s historical news releases from 1947 to 2006. These include details on a variety of topics such as manufacturing and trade inventories, personal income, U.S. international transactions, gross national profit, corporate profits, and the federal debt. 

This year, in June, the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor celebrated its centennial. FRASER joined in the celebration by adding the Special Bulletin of the Women’s Bureau, a series published from 1941-1944 with a focus on issues pertaining to women working in industry during World War II. FRASER’s collection of Women’s Bureau materials will continue to grow into 2021 and beyond. Another Department of Labor publication new to FRASER this year is the Monthly Labor Review of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The series includes issues from 2005 to 2020 and is expected to grow exponentially with the addition of materials back to the first issue published in 1915.

FRASER’s collection of historical data publications also expanded this year with the addition of Polk’s Bank Directory and volumes of the Rand McNally Bankers Directory, rounding out our collection to include nearly eight decades of historical lists of banks and bankers. New data-rich additions also include the Annual Report of the Secretary of Commerce from 1903 to 1980, with historical reports from the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Labor, and annual reports of the state banks of California, ArkansasMassachusettsMichiganNebraska, and Wisconsin available in FRASER’s collection of state banking data

FRASER’s New Look

2020 was a year of change, and FRASER’s homepage was no exception. Our new, streamlined appearance debuted in the fall, featuring a design that allows simpler navigation of our many collections. Over one million URLs were refactored to improve optimization, and full-text pages were added to make FRASER easier to search and browse. Another new feature to look for is author bios that offer relevant information to provide context to the plethora of books, data publications, and other collections of historical economic materials. 

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Biographical details for Irving Fisher, among many author biographies added to FRASER in 2020.

Behind FRASER’s new look and new content is the same drive to make finding and using historical economic and financial information easier. If you’re interested in receiving more frequent FRASER updates, subscribe to our monthly newsletter and get daily updates on Twitter at FedFRASER. If you have a great idea for a new collection or site enhancement, have some of the materials on our Needs List you’d like to offer, or are a potential partner with materials you’d like to see on FRASER, email us


© 2021, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis or the Federal Reserve System.

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