From Real Bills to Too Big to Fail: H. Parker Willis and the Fed’s First Century

Mostly Economics

Nice piece on Federal Reserve history by Jeff Lacker, former President of Richmond Fed.

It is a great honor to be a part of this lecture series commemorating H. Parker Willis, who, in addition to helping create the Federal Reserve System, also served as the first secretary to the Federal Reserve Board and later as the first research director. As most of you probably know, early in his career, Dr. Willis was a professor of economics here at Washington & Lee. What you might not know is that, according to some accounts, the president of the university at the
time thought Dr. Willis spent too much time in Washington, D.C., consulting with Congress and forced his resignation. The students
protested—evidence of the abiding wisdom of your student body.

Tonight, I would like to discuss Dr. Willis’s wisdom and his original vision for the Federal Reserve. I will also talk about…

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