Citations and References for
A History of the Federal Reserve: Volume 1: 1913-1951

About the Project

The Meltzer Project is a web-based compilation of documents that relate to the history of the Federal Reserve System; these documents were selected, culled from an expansive archive of material, by a foremost historian of the institution, Dr. Allan H. Meltzer.

This project began when Dr. Meltzer gave the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis access to four boxes of the materials and notes he used to write his comprehensive study of the early years of the Fed, A History of the Federal Reserve -- Volume 1: 1914-1951. The Research Library of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, as part of its mission to provide public access to economic information, determined that it would be useful to other economists and students of economic history if they had access to the source documents that Dr. Meltzer refers to in this book.

The project is based on two data tables: a table with the specific information that Dr. Meltzer provided about his references and a table we created with specific information about the citations and footnotes from a page-by-page review of the book. These databases are the foundation for the website. There are 307 specific references and 2,686 citations in the book. Of these citations, 400 are comments made directly by the author; the rest are references to other works.

The references include journal articles, books, working papers, Congressional hearings, unpublished papers and memoranda from individuals and the Board of Governors, and internally published minutes of the Board of Governors and Federal Open Market Committee.

Technical Information

The hardware and software used to create these documents were:

  • Dell Optiplex GX620
  • Plustek OptiBook 3600 Desktop Book Scanner, used for bound books
  • Fujitsu fi-5650C Desktop Image Scanner
  • ScanSoft Paperport Professional Version 10 for cleaning images and straightening scans.
  • Abbyy FineReader Professional Version 7 for OCR. All OCR was screened for uncertain characters and unrecognized words. Based on several test files, we believe that we achieved close to 97% accuracy in the OCR for text.
  • Adobe Acrobat Professional Version 7.0 for locking the published pdf files to prevent editing.
Specifications for the archival images are varied. Materials with good contrast were scanned in black and white at 600 dpi. The final pdf was saved at 300 dpi. Bound documents located at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C., could not be scanned. They were photographed using a digital camera. Where possible these images were converted to black and white to reduce file size, but in many cases, these documents were processed in gray-scale to improve readability. The gray-scale documents were converted to a pdf using 150 dpi resolution. Some color documents located in the Board of Governors Central Subject files were scanned in color. They were also converted to pdf format using 150 dpi resolution.

Status of the Project

The site currently provides access to cited source materials as follows:

Type of publicationReferencesCitationsText AvailablePercent of citations available
Books or Chapters of books 153 871 133 15.27%
Journal articles 94 189 150 79.37%
Congressional hearings 26 168 70 41.67%
Collections of private papers 17 521 217 41.65%
Minutes 6 514 350 68.09%
Working papers 11 21 14 66.67%
Citation with no specfic reference NA 400 NA NA
307 2284 934 40.89%

We are actively attempting to locate the missing Congressional hearings and obtain access to other collections of private papers so we may digitize them.