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Treasurer of the United States

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Since 2002 the Treasurer of the United States has been a minor patronage post of no policy importance. Previously it was a mid-level position without policy responsibility.

Contents

History of the Treasurer's Office[1]

Over the years the Office of the Treasurer has seen tremendous changes and reflected the often turbulent history of our nation. It is the only office in the Treasury Department that is older than the Department itself. Originally, the Continental Congress created joint treasurers of the United Colonies on July 29, 1775. At that time, the Continental Congress appointed Michael Hillegas and George Clymer to serve. They were instructed to reside in Philadelphia, which was the home of the Continental Congress. Their major responsibility was to raise money for the Revolutionary War. Unlike today's Treasurer, neither of their signatures appeared on the "continentals" as the paper money was then called.

On August 6,1776, George Clymer resigned and the Continental Congress appointed Michael Hillegas as the sole Continental Treasurer. After the name of our nation was changed from the United Colonies to the United States, on September 9, 1776, Michael Hillegas continued as the Treasurer of the United States, although his title was not officially changed to reflect the new reality until March 1778. Treasurer Hillegas served the new nation until September 11, 1789 and was succeeded by Samuel Meredith who served until October 3, 1801 (for a complete list of U.S. Treasurers, please visit our index of Treasurers of the United States.).

Both before and after the Revolutionary War, the United States recognized the need to safeguard the integrity of its currency and to prevent counterfeiting. Just as today, the new government realized that it needed to stay ahead of counterfeiters by employing technology to design bank notes. At that time, though, private printers produced the notes that were then issued to banks. Benjamin Franklin came up with several simple but ingenious methods to slow down counterfeiters. On one design for a bank note, he deliberately misspelled the name "Philadelphia." But his most original idea was to create a print of a leaf design on the currency. The intricacy of the leaf's pattern was impossible to duplicate because no two leaves are ever exactly alike in design. An example of the "leaf note" remains in the Smithsonian collection.

The job of fighting counterfeiting continued during the Civil War. At that time, the government took over the printing of currency from private banks and printers to standardize the design of the money, which was quickly dubbed "greenbacks." On July 17, 1861, Congress passed the first federal law authorizing the U.S. Government to issue paper money.

At that time, Frances Spinner was serving as Treasurer, under Abraham Lincoln, and he stirred up a great deal of controversy by hiring the first female employees at Treasury. In 1862, he hired Jennie Douglas to cut and trim paper. This was a hand operation that had previously been done entirely by men. Treasurer Spinner was so pleased with his experiment that he remarked, "the first day Miss Douglas spent on the job settled the matter in her behalf and in women's favor." He subsequently appointed many women to positions in the Treasury.

Treasurer Spinner came under a lot of criticism from opponents. The tax collector of Kalamazoo declared, "I do not think the service of females could be made efficient in the collecting department or be brought within the range of propriety."

A New York tax assessor joined in, "if the nerves and firmness of a man can rarely be found to withstand the wily exactions of dishonest taxpayers, I doubt the wisdom of filling their places with females."

The women, however, were not without support. The assessor of Manchester wrote, "female clerks are more attentive, diligent and efficient than males and make better clerks. I intend very soon to have none but females in my office."

Treasurer Spinner declared that the women in the Treasury were "hardworking, efficient, had excellent work habits and integrity." For his innovation and his spirited defense of female employees, the women of New York erected a statue of him in his hometown of Herkimer, New York.

Meanwhile, at the same time that we were taking steps to protect our money by standardizing and printing it at in the basement of the Treasury building, the government was engaged in efforts to destabilize the Confederate currency.

Over the years, the Office of the Treasurer grew and under various reorganizations, reported to various senior executives. By 1921, Secretary Andrew Mellon assigned the Treasurer to report directly to the newly created position of Under Secretary of the Treasury, the second ranking official in the Treasury Department. At the same time, the role of the Treasurer greatly expanded until in the 1940s the Treasurer was reporting to the Fiscal Assistant Secretary. The Treasurer's Office continued to receive and disburse government funds. By the 1970s, the Treasurer's Office had a staff of over 1,000 employees to fulfill these responsibilities.

In a reorganization on February 14, 1974, the Office of the Treasurer was separated from the Fiscal Service and the Treasurer undertook new duties and responsibilities. On July 21, 1974, Francine Neff was sworn in as Treasurer and was the first Treasurer to fill the newly defined position. Her first responsibility was to manage the Treasury-wide bicentennial Program. On January 6, 1975, the Treasurer was also named head of the Savings Bonds Division with the title National Director. Francine Neff was the first Treasurer to hold the position of National Director and to manage a bureau. The new treasurer reported directly to the Undersecretary for Monetary Affairs.

Although the duties and responsibilities of the office did not change, on September 12, 1977, history was made once again when Azie Taylor Morton was named the first African American Treasurer.

The Office of the Treasurer underwent further reorganization in 1981 when the Treasurer was given supervision of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the U.S. Mint. As a result, both directors now reported directly to the Treasurer, who then reported to the Deputy Secretary.

In another major change in 1993 the Savings Bonds Division was abolished and their functions and employees were put under the supervision of the Bureau of Public Debt in an effort to streamline the federal government.

In 2002, the Office of the Treasurer underwent further reorganization. The Treasurer currently advises the Director of the Mint, the Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Deputy Secretary and the Secretary on matters relating to coinage, currency and the production of other instruments by the United States. The Treasurer also serves as one of the Treasury Department's principal advisors and spokespersons in the area of financial literacy and education.


See also U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing


Treasurers of the United States

Below is a list of the Treasurers of the United States along with their dates of service and the President(s) they served under:


Michael Hillegas, Pennsylvania

Jul. 29, 1775 - Sept. 11, 1789 ---------- 

Samuel Meredith, Pennsylvania

Sept. 11, 1789 - Mar. 3, 1797 Washington
Mar. 4, 1797 - Mar. 3, 1801 John Adams
Mar. 4, 1801 - Oct. 31, 1801 Jefferson 

Thomas T. Tucker, South Carolina

Dec. 1, 1801 - Mar. 3, 1809Jefferson
Mar. 4, 1809 - May. 3, 1817 Madison
Mar. 4, 1817 - Mar. 3 , 1825 Monroe
Mar. 7, 1825 - May 2, 1828 J.Q. Adams 

William Clark, Pennsylvania

Jun. 4, 1828 - Mar. 3 , 1829 J.Q. Adams
Mar. 4 , 1829 - May 31, 1829 Jackson 

John Campbell, Virginia

May 26, 1829 - Mar. 3, 1837 Jackson
Mar. 4, 1837 - Jul. 20, 1839 Van Buren 

William Selden, Virginia


Jul. 22, 1839 - Mar. 3, 1841 Van Buren
Mar. 4, 1841 - Apr. 4, 1841 W.H. Harrison
Apr. 5, 1841 - Mar. 3 , 1845 Tyler
Mar. 4 , 1845 - Mar. 3 , 1849 Polk
Mar. 4 , 1849 - Jul. 9, 1850 Taylor
Jul. 10, 1850 - Nov. 23, 1850 Filmore 

John Sloane, Ohio

Nov. 27, 1850 - Mar 3 , 1853 Filmore
Mar. 4 , 1853 - Apr 1 , 1853 Pierce 

Samuel Casey, Kentucky

Apr. 4, 1853 - Mar. 3 , 1857 Pierce
Mar. 4, 1857 - Dec. 22, 1859 Buchanan 

William C. Price, Missouri

Feb. 28, 1860 - Mar. 3 , 1861 Buchanan
Mar. 4 , 1861 - Mar. 21, 1861 Lincoln 

Francis E. Spinner, New York

Mar. 16, 1861 - Apr. 15, 1865 Lincoln
Apr. 15, 1865 - Mar. 3, 1869 A. Johnson
Mar. 4, 1869 - Jul. 30, 1875 Grant 

John C. New, Indiana

Jun. 30, 1875 - to Jul. 1, 1876 Grant 

Albert U. Wyman, Wisconsin

Jul. 1, 1876 - Mar.3,1877 Grant
Mar.4, 1877 - Jun.30,1877 Hayes 

James Gilfillan, Connecticut

Jul. 1, 1877 - Mar. 3, 1881 Hayes
Mar. 4, 1881 - Sept. 19 , 1881 Garfield
Sept. 20 , 1881 - Mar. 31, 1883 Arthur 

Albert U. Wyman, Wisconsin

Apr. 1 ,1883 - Mar.3,1885 Arthur
Mar.4,1885 - Apr. 30,1885 Cleveland 

Conrad N. Jordan, New York

May. 1, 1885 - May 23, 1887 Cleveland 

James W. Hyatt, Connecticut

May. 24, 1887 - Mar. 3 , 1889 Cleveland 

J. N. Huston, Indiana

May. 11, 1889 - Apr. 13 , 1891 B. Harrison 

Enos H. Nebecker, Indiana

Apr. 25, 1891 - Mar. 3, 1893 B. Harrison
Mar.4, 1893 - May. 31, 1893 Cleveland 

Daniel N. Morgan, Connecticut

Jun. 1, 1893 - Mar. 3, 1897 Cleveland
Mar.4, 1897 - Jun. 30, 1897 McKinley 

Ellis H. Roberts, New York

Jul. 1, 1897 - Sep. 14, 1901 McKinley
Sep.14, 1901 - Jun. 30, 1905 T. Roosevelt 

Charles H. Treat, New York

Jul. 1, 1905 - Mar. 3 , 1909 T. Roosevelt
Mar. 4 , 1909 - Oct. 30, 1909 Taft 

Lee McClung, Tennessee

Nov. 1, 1909 - Nov. 21, 1912 Taft 

Carmi A. Thompson, Ohio

Nov. 22, 1912 - Mar. 3 , 1913 Taft
Mar. 4 , 1913 - Mar. 31, 1913 Wilson 

John Burke, North Dakota

Apr. 1, 1913 - Jan. 5, 1921 Wilson 

Frank White, North Dakota

May. 2, 1921 - Aug. 2, 1923 Harding
Aug. 3, 1923 - May. 1, 1928 Coolidge 

H. Theodore Tate, Tennessee

May. 31, 1928 - Jan. 17, 1929 Coolidge 

Walter O. Woods, Kansas

Jan. 18, 1929 - Mar. 3, 1929 Coolidge
Mar. 4, 1929 - Mar. 3, 1933 Hoover
Mar. 4 , 1933 - May. 31, 1933 F.D. Roosevelt 

William A. Julian, Ohio

Jun. 1, 1933 - Apr. 12, 1945 F.D. Roosevelt
Apr. 12, 1945 - May. 29, 1949 Truman 

Georgia Neese Clark, Kansas

Jun. 21, 1949 - Jan. 20, 1953 Truman
Jan. 20, 1953 - Jan. 27, 1953 Eisenhower 

Ivy Baker Priest, Utah

Jan. 28, 1953 - Jan. 20, 1961 Eisenhower


Elizabeth Rudel Smith, California

Jan. 31, 1961 - Apr. 13, 1962 Kennedy 

Kathryn O’Hay Granahan, Pennsylvania

Jan. 9 , 1963 - Nov. 22, 1963 Kennedy
Nov. 22, 1963 - Oct. 13 , 1966 L.B. Johnson 

Dorothy Andrews Elston, Delaware

May. 8, 1969 - Jul. 3, 1971 Nixon 

Romana Acosta Banuelos, California

Dec. 17, 1971 - Feb. 14, 1974 Nixon 

Francine Irving Neff, New Mexico

Jun. 21, 1974 - Aug 9, 1974 Nixon
Aug 9, 1974 - Jan 19, 1977 Ford 

Azie Taylor Morton, Texas

Sep. 12, 1977 - Jan. 20, 1981 Carter 

Angela Marie Buchanan, District of Columbia

Mar. 20, 1981 - Jul. 5, 1983 Reagan 

Katherine Davalos Ortega, New Mexico

Sep. 26, 1983 - Jan. 20 , 1989 Reagan
Jan. 20, 1989 - Jul. 1, 1989 G.H.W. Bush 

Catalina Vasquez Villalpando,Texas

Dec. 11 , 1989 - Jan. 20, 1993 G.H.W. Bush 

Mary Ellen Withrow, Ohio

Mar. 1, 1994 - Jan. 20, 2001 Clinton 

Rosario Marin, California

Aug. 16, 2001 - June 30, 2003 G.W. Bush 

Anna Escobedo Cabral,

California Jan. 19 , 2005 - Present  G.W. Bush

See also

References

  1. http://www.treasury.gov/offices/treasurer/office-history.shtml
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