Past Presidents of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Alfred L. Aiken
President from 11/25/1914 to 12/20/1917
Alfred L. Aiken was born in 1870 in Norwich, Connecticut. He joined State Mutual Life Assurance Company in 1892, leaving after two years to become assistant manager of the New England department of New York Life Insurance Company. In 1903, Aiken decided to pursue a career in banking, becoming assistant cashier of State National Bank in Boston. Eleven years later, in 1914, his banking career reached a capstone with his election as President of the newly created Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. As the Bank’s first president, Aiken was intimately involved with the initial establishment of discount rate policy. Benjamin Strong, Governor of the New York Fed at the time of Aiken’s tenure, commended Aiken for his policy, which enveloped all of the member banks of the Boston Fed in the same system, each bank paying at the same rate to borrow from the Fed. After three years of service, Aiken resigned from the Boston Fed to become president of National Shawmut Bank, Boston. In 1924, he returned to his first career interest, rejoining New York Life as a vice president; by 1940, he was chairman. Aiken retired in 1942 and died in New York City on December 13, 1946.
Charles A. Morss
President from 12/20/1917 to 12/31/1922
Charles Anthony Morss was born on July 13, 1857, in Boston. After graduating from Boston public schools, he entered the wool business, associating himself with a man who would later form the firm Hobbs, Taft & Co. Morss became a partner of this firm in 1884, a position he would hold until 1887, when he went to work for his father at the firm of Morss & Whyte, Wire Workers. After nine years, Morss left his father’s company to become treasurer of Simplex Wire and Cable Company. In 1911, he was elected chairman of the newly organized National Citizens League for an Improved Banking System. This position prepared him for work with the Boston Fed. In 1914, he became a Class B director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, resigning four years later to become President of the Boston Fed. Morss left the Bank at the end of 1922 to rejoin Simplex Wire and Cable Company as a vice president and director. He continued to serve the Federal Reserve System as a member of the Federal Advisory Council from 1924 to 1926. Charles Morss died on July 5, 1927.
W. P. G. Harding
President from 01/16/1923 to 04/07/1930
William Harding was born in Greene County, Alabama, on May 5, 1864. He received A.B. and A.M. degrees from the University of Alabama in 1880 and 1881, respectively, making him the youngest full graduate in the history of the university. In 1916, Harding began his banking career at J. H. Fitts and Co. He went on to become vice president and then president of the First National Bank of Birmingham. In 1914, Harding began his service to the Federal Reserve System with his appointment as a member of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC. In 1916, he was designated Governor (Chairman). When his term expired in 1922, at the request of the President of Cuba, he traveled to Cuba to advise the Cuban government on reorganizing its financial and accounting system. Upon his return to the United States in 1923, he was elected President of the Boston Fed. Harding was considered a key figure during the seminal years of the Federal Reserve System, and in 1925 he wrote a book on the early years of the System. Harding died at his home in Boston's Algonquin Club in April 1930. He is the only Federal Reserve Bank of Boston president to die while in office.
Roy A. Young
President from 09/01/1930 to 03/31/1942
Roy A. Young was born in Marquette, Michigan, in 1882. At the age of eight, he began his banking career as a messenger for the First National Bank of Marquette. He later became assistant cashier at Marquette National Bank and then at his original employer, First National Bank. In 1913, he joined Citizens National Bank as a vice president. Six years later, in 1919, he became President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank. In 1927, President Coolidge appointed him to be a Governor of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC, and in 1930, Young accepted the position of President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. As the Boston Fed’s fourth president, he received a yearly salary of about $30,000. He served until 1942, when he resigned to become president and later chairman of the board of Merchants National Bank, Boston. Later, Young joined the board of directors of American Woolen Company, becoming chairman of the board in 1954. Young died on December 31, 1960, in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
William W. Paddock
President from 04/01/1942 to 05/01/1944
William W. Paddock was born in Clinton, Iowa, on April 8, 1879. After graduation from Clinton High School, Paddock enlisted in the 49th Iowa Voluntary Infantry and served during the Spanish-American War. After leaving the military, he studied economics at Columbian College (George Washington University) and also at the University of Pennsylvania. He next studied law at George Washington University, earning his LL.B. In 1920, Paddock was named deputy governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; later, he added the title of first vice president. In 1934, newspapers reported that the Boston Fed had processed part of the Lindberg ransom money. Any knowledge of this transaction was denied by Paddock and the Fed. In 1942, Paddock was elected President of the Boston Fed at a yearly salary of about $25,000. He served as President for two years, resigning in 1944 with almost 25 years of Fed service.
Ralph E. Flanders
President from 05/01/1944 to 02/28/1946
Ralph Edward Flanders was born on September 28, 1880, in Barnet, Vermont. After graduating from Central Falls High School in Rhode Island, Flanders became a designer for International Paper Box Machinery Box Company. Two years later, in 1905, he took the position of associate editor of the publication, “Machinery.” In 1911, Flanders joined Jones and Lamson Machine Company as a director. He became president of the company in 1933, a position he would hold for 11 years. He left in 1944 to become President of the Boston Fed. After less than two years with the Boston Fed, he resigned to join George Doriot of the Harvard Business School in establishing the first venture capital firm, American Research and Development. One of ARD’s initial investments was the company that eventually became Digital Equipment Corporation. Flanders was appointed to the U.S. Senate from Vermont on November 1, 1946, to fill a vacancy. He served until 1959. As a U.S. Senator, Flanders is notable for having introduced the censure resolution against Joseph McCarthy in 1954. Flanders died in Springfield, Vermont, on February 19, 1970.
Laurence F. Whittemore
President from 03/01/1946 to 10/04/1948
Laurence Frederick Whittemore was born in Pembroke, New Hampshire, on June 8, 1894. After attending Pembroke Academy, he was employed by the Boston and Maine Railroad. He left Boston and Maine in 1917 to become municipal accountant and assistant to the New Hampshire State Tax Commission. In 1929, he returned to Boston and Maine and then began working for Maine Central Railroad. In 1944, he began his affiliation with the Boston Fed as a Class B director. Two years later, he was elected President of the bank for a salary of about $25,000 a year. According to a 1948 Time magazine article, Whittemore "woke things up at the church-quiet Federal Reserve Bank by providing piped-in music." He was known for his legendary dry wit and inexhaustible supply of anecdotes. Whittemore spent less than three years as President, resigning in 1948 to become president of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad. In the 1950s, President Eisenhower selected Whittemore as special envoy to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Whittemore died on August 11, 1960, in Concord, New Hampshire. He was eulogized by the state's governor as "Mr. New England."
Joseph A. Erickson
President from 12/15/1948 to 02/28/1961
Joseph A. Erickson was born on January 8, 1896, in Lynn, Massachusetts. He earned an A.B. from Harvard University in 1918. Erickson served as a first lieutenant in World War I, and after the war, he became a member of the reparation division of the American Peace Commission. Erickson returned to Harvard in 1919 to attend the school of business administration. In 1920, he began his long association with National Shawmut Bank, Boston. Beginning as a clerk, he was promoted to manager of the Credit Department in 1925 and to branch manager in 1926. He became a vice president in 1928 and was elevated to executive vice president in 1942. In 1948, Erickson was appointed President of the Boston Fed, serving until 1961. His 12 years of service make him the second longest serving president in the Boston Fed's history. Erickson died in Wrentham, Massachusetts, on March 14, 1983.
George H. Ellis
President from 3/01/1961 to 6/30/1968
George Hathaway Ellis was born in Orono, Maine, on January 29, 1920.
After graduating from the University of Maine in 1941 at the top of his class, Ellis served as a major in the infantry during World War II, spending the years 1941 to 1945 in the Pacific. After the war, Ellis continued his education earning a Masters (1948) and PhD (1950) in Economics from Harvard University. In 1949, he was appointed by the President's Council of Economic Advisers to be a member of the Committee on the New England Economy. He held this appointment until 1951. A one-year sabbatical from the University of Maine brought Ellis to the Boston Fed in 1952 as an industrial economist. In 1953, he was appointed the Boston Fed’s director of research, and in 1957 he became a vice president. Ellis was named President of the Boston Fed in 1961, becoming the first formally trained economist to serve as a Boston Fed President. In 1968, Ellis resigned to become president and chief executive officer of Keystone Funds, Boston. Ellis died on November 3, 2005 in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Frank E. Morris
President from 8/15/68 to 12/31/88
Frank Eugene Morris was born in Detroit, Michigan, on December 30, 1923. After graduating from high school, he attended the General Motors Institute of Technology. He served as a navigator with the rank of first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force from 1943 to 1945. Returning from the war, Morris earned his B.A. from Wayne University and then worked from 1948 to 1951 as a consultant on airport planning and management for Leigh Fisher and Associates. From 1951 to 1955, he was an economist with the Office of Price Stabilization and the Central Intelligence Agency. After receiving his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan in 1955, Morris worked as research director for the Investment Bankers Association in Washington, DC, until 1961 and then as assistant to the secretary for debt management at the U.S. Treasury. Moving to Boston in 1963, he became vice president at Loomis Sayles and Co. In 1968, he was appointed President of the Boston Fed, a position he held for 20 years, becoming the longest serving president in the Bank’s history. Morris was instrumental in the conception and construction of the Federal Reserve Plaza, the Bank’s current facility, which was dedicated in 1978. Shortly after arriving at the Bank, he established the Bald Peak economic conferences, where officials from the public and private sectors and economists meet to examine economic policy issues. The conferences have been widely copied by other Feds and continue to be an annual offering of the Boston Fed. In retirement, Morris consulted for the Central Bank of Indonesia, and he served until 1994 as Peter Drucker professor of management at Boston College. Morris died on January 24, 2000, at his home in Florida.
Richard F. Syron
President from 1/1/1989 to 3/31/1994
Richard Francis Syron was born in Boston on October 25, 1943. He graduated from Boston College in 1966 and received his Ph.D. in economics from Tufts University in 1971. Syron worked at the Boston Fed at two separate times: (1) From 1974 to 1985, he served as an economist, officer, and economic advisor in the Boston Fed’s research department; and (2) he returned to the Bank in 1989 to serve as President for five years. During the intervening years, he held positions at the U.S. Treasury; served as assistant to Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker; and served as President of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. As President of the Boston Fed, Syron was active in public policy debates. He sponsored a landmark study on racial discrimination in mortgage lending and played a key role in the restructuring of New England's banking system following the strains of the 1980s and early 1990s. Syron left the Boston Fed in 1994 to become chairman and chief executive officer of the American Stock Exchange. He led this exchange through its 1999 merger into the National Association of Securities Dealers, the operator of NASDAQ. Syron then became president, chief executive officer, and later chairman of the board of Thermo Electron Corporation, a Waltham, Massachusetts, maker of high-tech instruments. In 2003, he was named chairman and chief executive officer of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac).
Cathy E. Minehan
President from 7/13/1994 to 7/20/2007
Cathy Elizabeth Minehan was born on February 15, 1947, in Jersey City, New Jersey. She earned a B.A. from the University of Rochester in 1968 and an M.B.A. from New York University in 1977. She began her career with the Federal Reserve System in 1968 at the New York Fed, working as a bank examiner, analyst, and supervisor. She was named operations analysis officer in 1975 and manager of the management information department in 1976. In 1978, she spent a year in Washington as visiting assistant secretary to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Upon returning to the New York Fed in 1979, she was named assistant vice president, with responsibilities in data processing and also served as senior aide to the President. She was promoted to vice president in 1982 and senior vice president in 1987. As senior vice president, Minehan was responsible for the funds, securities, and accounts group. She moved to the Boston Fed in 1991, becoming the first woman to hold the position of first vice president at the Boston Fed. In 1994, she became the Bank’s 12th president, the first woman to hold this position at the Boston Fed and the second woman to serve as President of a Federal Reserve Bank.