Treasurer of the United States
From Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium
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.
History of the Treasurer's Office
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.
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