- Collection Overview
- Collection Description & Creator Information
- Access & Use
- Collection History
- Find Related Materials
- Spahr, Walter Earl, 1891-
- Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
- Walter E. Spahr Papers
- Public Policy Papers
- Permanent URL:
- 1923-1966 (mostly 1930-1950)
- 8 boxes and 2 items
- Storage Note:
- Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 1-8
Walter E. Spahr (1891-1970) was a professor of economics at New York University who was a strong supporter of the gold standard. Spahr was a founding member and officer of the Economists' National Committee for Monetary Policy, which advocated for sound monetary policies for the United States. Spahr's papers document his scholarship and include his writings and related correspondence.
Collection Description & Creator Information
Spahr's papers document his scholarship and include his writings and related correspondence. The subjects of his writings include the gold standard, United States monetary policies and economic conditions, inflation, and business and employment. The papers also include a small amount of biographical material and papers from his work with the Economists' National Committee on Monetary Policy.
Please see the series descriptions in the contents list for additional information about individual series.
The Papers have been arranged in two series:
- Collection Creator Biography:
Walter E. Spahr (1891-1970) was a professor of economics at New York University who was a strong supporter of the gold standard. Spahr was a founding member and officer of the Economists' National Committee for Monetary Policy, which advocated for sound monetary policies for the United States. He also served as a consultant to industry, banks, organizations, and members of Congress.
Walter Earl Spahr was born on June 27, 1891 in Centerville, Indiana to Isaac and Thursa Spahr. He married Beulah Evelyn Lowry from Washington, Pennsylvania on August 25, 1920. They had three children: Carol (Bogdassarian), Kenneth, and Jean (Segatto). Spahr earned his A.B. in history from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana in 1914 and then taught as an instructor in history at Pacific College in Newberg, Oregon from 1914 to 1915. He studied at the University of California, Berkeley in the summer of 1915 before taking a job as instructor of economic history at Manual Training High School in Indianapolis from 1915 to 1916. He enrolled in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, while also working as assistant instructor in political science, from 1916 to 1917. He received his M.A. in government in 1917 and then was drafted into the United States army. Spahr served from 1917 to 1918 at Camp Taylor, Kentucky in a training battalion as battalion clerk and instructor in charge of army paper work at the division school. Spahr was discharged with the rank of sergeant.
Following his military service, Spahr returned to teaching. He was professor of political science and history, and head of the Department of History and Government, at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio from 1918 to 1919. In the summer of 1919, he pursued graduate study in the field of economics at Columbia before becoming an instructor of economics at Dartmouth from 1919 to 1920. He returned to Columbia in 1920, where he was instructor of economics from 1920 to 1923 while studying for his Ph.D. in economics, which he received in 1925. Spahr also began teaching on the faculty of the New York City Chapter of the American Institute of Banking in 1920 as an instructor in economics, money, and banking. He continued teaching there until 1928.
Spahr began his career at New York University as assistant professor of economics in 1923 and was promoted to associate professor of economics in 1926. In 1927, he became associate professor of money and banking and acting chairman of the Department of Economics. He also taught for a semester at Princeton University that year as a visiting associate professor of public finance. He became a full professor of economics and chairman of the Department of Economics at New York University in 1928, holding both positions until he retired professor emeritus in 1956.
In addition to his academic career, Spahr was a founder of the Economists' National Committee on Monetary Policy (hereafter "the Committee") in 1933 and remained the driving force behind the Committee for the rest of his life. The Committee was formed in opposition to the United States government's New Deal monetary policies and campaigned for a return to the gold standard and limits on inflation. The Committee sought to educate the public and United States government on the monetary issues facing the country and members frequently testified before Congress. Spahr served as Secretary-Treasurer (1933-1945) and as Executive Vice President and Treasurer (1946-1970) of the Committee. Spahr was also the editor and author of Monetary Notes (1940-1970), the Committee's monthly newsletter that was sent to Congress, leading Federal administrators, and major newspapers and radio commentators. The Committee continued its work until 1970, when it was dissolved after Spahr's death.
Spahr also served as a consultant and conducted research studies on economics issues for industry, banks, organizations, and members of Congress. He represented state chambers of commerce before Congress, conducted studies for the munitions industry, and consulted for members of both political parties of both houses of Congress. He was director and economist for the New York Air Brake Company, trustee of the Tax Foundation of New York, and director of the Citizen's National Committee.
Spahr was a prolific author and speaker, with the Economists' National Committee on Monetary Policy publishing many of his works. He was also published in academic journals and utilized newspapers and radio to reach the American people. He criticized the New Deal, advocated for the gold standard, and argued for policies that minimized government interference in business. Spahr was a member of the Stable Money Association, the Money and Banking Committee of the Commerce and Industry Association in New York, the American Economics Association, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the American Statistics Association. He was awarded the Alvin T. Simonds Economic Prize from the Simonds Saw & Steel Company in 1929, the Master Prophecy Award from Newsweek magazine in 1939, and the Freedom Foundation award in 1949. Spahr died on January 19, 1970.
This collection was donated by Walter E. Spahr in August 1968 .
- Archival Appraisal Information:
The materials separated from this collection include duplicate materials, publications, and syllabi and reading lists from his New York University classes.
These papers were processed with the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the John Foster and Janet Avery Dulles Fund.
- Processing Information:
This collection was processed by Adriane Hanson and Jessie Thompson in 2006. Finding aid written by Adriane Hanson in April 2006.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.
- Conditions for Reproduction and Use:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from the Mudd Library to move forward with their use.
- Credit this material:
Walter E. Spahr Papers; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Permanent URL:
- Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library65 Olden StreetPrinceton, NJ 08540, USA(609) 258-6345
- Publication Note:
Materials from the Biographical series of the Walter E. Spahr Papers were consulted during the preparation of the biographical note.
- Subject Terms:
- Banks and banking -- United States.
Currency question -- United States.
Economics -- 20th century.
Economists -- United States.
Gold standard -- United States.
Inflation (Finance) -- United States.
Monetary Policy -- United States.
- Genre Terms:
- Economists' National Committee on Monetary Policy (U.S.)
Spahr, Walter Earl, 1891-
- United States -- Economic conditions -- 1918-1945.