As the pandemic has continued, so has the FRASER team in tracking the impacts of COVID-19 on the nation’s economy with the COVID-19 Timeline. Our collection of documents, publications, and legislation related to the pandemic expanded in 2021, providing a snapshot of the responses of state and federal agencies. We also expanded our collection of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s continued coverage and analysis of national economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Detail of November 26, 2021 event on FRASER’s COVID-19 Timeline.

Our 2021 staff picks covered a variety of interesting FRASER content: We took a look at the papers of Paul Volcker and Marriner Eccles, a record of notable women in economic history, facts about the Bank Holiday of 1933, and the histories behind Frances Perkins and the creation of several New Deal programs and Mildred Adams’ work on the Committee on the History of the Federal Reserve.

Federal Reserve Materials

Our collection of the statements and speeches of Federal Reserve System leaders grew this year with the addition of the statements and speeches given by members of the Board of Governors during 2021, including the speeches of Christopher Waller, who took office in December 2020.

From the September 1978 issue of The Ledger, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Throughout 2021, the FRASER team added to our collection of Fed research publications and brought in some new titles. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s MetroMix publication was added, as well as The Ledger from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Over 20 current and retired publications from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas were added, representing research and commentary on issues affecting agriculture, energy, and monetary policy and exploring economic indicators of importance in the Eleventh District. Several current and former publications of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis were added, including the research and analysis in Regional Economist, publications focusing on the housing market, overviews of Fed policies, writings on community and economic development issues, and many more publications on issues of importance in the Eighth District.

Archival Collections

The FRASER team embarked on a few ambitious digitization projects this year, several of which have already begun to bear fruit: Issues of the Monthly Labor Review from 1915-1945 are now available on FRASER, along with our previously added issues from 2005-current. The early issues of this publication are instrumental in understanding changes to prices, wages, the labor supply, and labor laws, as well as many other topics as the United States transformed through two World Wars and the Great Depression. Follow the history and commentary on Social Security during its creation and adoption, and find out what it was like to be part of the domestic labor force during World War II with this fascinating publication produced by economists and statisticians of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Image from “Retail Prices of Food in April 1945,” from the July 1945 issue of the Monthly Labor Review.

Our collection of labor materials grew with the addition of the Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Labor, covering topics from industrial depressions to costs of production from 1886 to 1911. We further enhanced our collection of materials related to housing with the addition of underwriting manuals from the 1930s and annual reports of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Look to the historical underwriting manuals for an understanding of the instructions, policies, and regulations governing the work of the FHA in ascribing risk ratings to properties, as well as the historical policies of racial discrimination included within these guidelines.

Telegram from the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas to Charles S. Hamlin, Wm. G. McAdoo, and John Skelton Williams, regarding the opening day of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, November 16, 1914.

To celebrate another year of the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor, FRASER added an historical document published by the Bureau in 1985, “Milestones: The Women’s Bureau Celebrates 65 Years of Women’s Labor History.” This booklet provides a look at the work of the Bureau, from its inception to its 65th anniversary, and the economic, social, and political lives of women in the 1980s. We further enhanced our archival holdings with a collection of documents related to the establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas—correspondence and publications providing a look into the formation and successful opening of the Dallas Fed in 1914.

FRASER Improvements

For the FRASER team, 2021 was another exciting and productive year with big additions and big improvements. To keep up with the changes we made in 2020, we created our How to Use FRASER guide. In June, we rolled out our new RESTful API, a feature allowing our users direct access to text and PDF files, powerful search and retrieval capabilities, and much more. In November, our system archivists unveiled the results of their work with the Internet Archive’s Waybackfill Service, a tool allowing users to browse through a quarter century of archived Federal Reserve web content from a single access portal.

The FRASER team has big ideas and plans to keep things moving in 2022, so be on the lookout! Keep up the pace with us via our monthly newsletter, or follow our daily updates on Twitter. 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!

© 2022, 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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