Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Leon H. Keyserling Papers

Dates: 1923-1989.

Vice Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers, 1946-1949; Acting Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers, 1949-1950; Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers, 1950-1953.

The papers of Leon H. Keyserling document his entire career as an activist economist devoted to liberal causes. Keyserling himself compiled and bound the remarkable series of articles and reports he wrote, the speeches and testimony he gave, and the newspaper clippings that recorded the events of his long career. These series constitute about two-thirds of the collection. Most of the remainder consists of files of memoranda, correspondence, reports and transcripts of testimony that document Keyserling's work as Vice Chairman, Acting Chairman, and Chairman of President Truman's Council of Economic Advisers.

See also Oral History

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Publications | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: About 35 linear feet (approximately 70,000 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: Mrs. Mary Dublin Keyserling donated her copyright interest in any unpublished writings, including those of her husband, in this collection or in any other collection in the possession of the United States Government, to the people of the United States. In addition, documents prepared by United States Government employees in the course of their official duties are also in the public domain. Copyright interest in documents that do not fall into the above two categories is presumed to remain with the writers of the documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Dennis E. Bilger, Raymond H. Geselbracht, Sharie K. Simon, Bridget D. Lackey and Mary Jo Minter (l990); Dennis E. Bilger and Randy Sowell (2001).


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1908 (Jan. 22) Born, Charleston, South Carolina
1928 A. B., Columbia University
1931 LL. B., Harvard University
1931-33 Graduate Student, Department of Economics, Columbia University
1933 Attorney, Agricultural Adjustment Administration
1933-46 Consultant economist to Senate committees on issues relating to
banking and currency, industrial recovery and public works, housing, social security, labor relations and employment
1933-37 Legislative Assistant to Senator Robert F. Wagner
1937-46 General Counsel and other positions with the U.S. Housing Authority,
the Federal Public Housing Authority, and the National Housing
Agency
1946-53 Vice Chairman (l946-49), Acting Chairman (l949-50), and Chairman
(l950-53) of the Council of Economic Advisers
1953-87 Consulting economist and practicing attorney, and especially, consultant
to members and committees of the Congress on issues relating to banking and currency, industrial recovery and public works, housing,
social security, labor relations and employment, taxation and
monetary policy
1954-87 Founder and president, Conference on Economic Progress
1969 Became president of the National Committee for Labor, Israel
1987 (Aug. 9) Died, Washington, D.C.

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SELECT LIST OF BOOKS PUBLISHED BY LEON H. KEYSERLING

1934   Redirecting Education (with Rexford Tugwell)
1954Toward Full Employment and Full Production
1957 Consumption-Key to Full Prosperity
1959 The Federal Budget and the General Welfare
1962 The Peace by Investment Corporation (with Benjamin Javitts)
1963 Taxes and the Public Interest
1964 Progress or Poverty
1965 The Move Toward Railroad Mergers
1966 A Freedom Budget for All Americans
1973 The Scarcity School of Economics
1979 Liberal and Conservative National Economic Policies and Their Consequences, l9l9-79
1984 The Current Significance of the New Deal

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of Leon H. Keyserling document his entire career as an activist economist devoted to liberal causes. Most of the collection was compiled, arranged and bound by Keyserling himself, apparently in order to create a record for posterity of his amazingly energetic efforts to influence public policy. Keyserling's work as Vice Chairman, Acting Chairman, and Chairman of Truman's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) is documented principally in the Council of Economic Advisers File, and also in portions of the Speech and Article File and the Clippings File. This material constitutes about one-fourth of the collection. The rest of the collection documents primarily Keyserling's attempts through his speaking and writing, as well as through his associated activities as consultant and lobbyist, to influence public policy toward the creation of an equitable prosperity.

The collection is composed of ten series. A small Harry S. Truman File brings together documents related in diverse ways to President Truman. The series includes a small amount of correspondence between Keyserling and Truman, some of it, primarily from the years following Truman's presidency, concerned with economic policy. The series also includes a transcript of Keyserling's contribution to a conference on the Truman White House held at the Truman Library in l977, a manuscript by Keyserling about Truman's Council of Economic Advisers, and files on Truman-related memorial activities in which Keyserling participated.

The Council of Economic Advisers File consists primarily of reports, memoranda, staff studies and transcripts of congressional hearings relating to Keyserling's work on Truman's Council of Economic Advisers from l946 to l953. The series has five subseries. The Report File includes the quarterly reports, special reports and annual reports sent by the CEA to the President, as well as the semiannual economic reports that the President sent to the Congress. The small Council Members File is composed of correspondence, reports, and articles arranged in name files for CEA members and staff. The Subject File, besides having files on such subjects as business groups, manpower, the steel industry, investment, fiscal policy and development, and welfare programs, includes biographical sketches of the members and staff of the CEA, a transcript of an oral history interview Keyserling gave to a representative of the Harry S. Truman Library in l97l, and--most important--three folders, entitled "White House Contacts," of correspondence exchanged between the CEA, President Truman, and members of the White House staff. The Staff Studies File contains reports, correspondence and other materials relating to several areas of economic study being considered by the CEA. The Hearings Before the Joint Economic Committee File contains published transcripts of the hearings before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress from l946 to l953.

The Subject File contains material dating from 1928 to 1986 and includes Keyserling's correspondence with such scholars as Professor Alonzo Hamby and Hugh S. Norton regarding economic issues and his work with the CEA; correspondence with various members of the CEA during the period after the Truman administration; articles by columnists and other writers on economic issues; documentation of international economic issues and Keyserling=s work in India and Israel; and personal correspondence with his friends, the Lowenthals, with whom he discussed his own genealogical background and relationship to the German Kaiser. This series also includes various newspapers and magazines, as well as Keyserling's correspondence with editors and writers for those publications. Also included is material on the Chandler Historical Prize, which was awarded to Keyserling by Columbia University when he was a student there in 1928.

The Congressional Correspondence File consists of three subseries: the Senate File, arranged alphabetically by the name of the Senator with whom Keyserling corresponded; the House of Representatives File, containing correspondence between Keyserling and members of the House of Representatives, also arranged alphabetically by name; and the Humphrey-Hawkins Bill File, which contains drafts of legislation and other material pertaining to the proposed Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act, which Keyserling worked on for Senator Hubert Humphrey and Representative Augustus Hawkins during the 1970s.

The Speech and Article File was compiled, arranged, and bound by Keyserling himself. It apparently contains virtually every speech he made and every article, letter to the editor, and statement of any kind that he contributed to the periodic press. Some of his school papers are also included in the series. These materials were unbound during processing and put into folders. Each item was given an individual folder and listed in this finding aid. Keyserling's arrangement has been maintained. It is chronological by year, and then, within each year, by various categories of document type. For example, the categories for l967 are articles, speeches, unrecorded speeches and press releases. Arrangement within each category of document type is chronological. Keyserling's own listings of the contents of each of his thirty-six bound volumes are filed at the beginning of each volume's contents.

The Testimony File is arranged in two subseries. The Congressional Testimony File primarily contains published congressional hearings and reports that include testimony by Keyserling. Most of the material in this subseries dates from the period after Keyserling's tenure on the Council of Economic Advisers. The Non-Congressional Testimony File contains primarily transcripts of Keyserling's testimony before the Interstate Commerce Commission regarding the merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central Railroad, and before various state public utility commissions regarding the electric power and natural gas industries.

The Studies and Reports File contains bound volumes of papers prepared by Keyserling, sometimes writing together with his wife, Mary Dublin Keyserling. It consists of four subseries, following Keyserling's own arrangement: the Labor Relations File; the International Economics File; the Conference on Economic Progress File; and the Miscellaneous File.

The Clippings File, which was compiled and arranged by Keyserling, documents his work from l933 to l983. It is arranged in six subseries: the Chronological File; the Council of Economic Advisers File; the "Important Clippings" File; the General Clippings File; the Clippings Re Price Increases, Tax Cuts and Interest Rates File; and the Conference on Economic Progress File. The Chronological File is the largest subseries, and is the only one to cover the period before Keyserling joined the Council of Economic Advisers. It is particularly informative for the years l933 and l949-52. The Council of Economic Advisers File contains clippings about the resignation of the first chairman, Dr. Edwin G. Nourse, and about the CEA's reports to the President and the President's reports to Congress. The designation "Important Clippings" is Keyserling's own.

The Memorabilia File contains a few of Keyserling's early school papers; several exchanges of correspondence, some of them substantive, between Keyserling and Hubert Humphrey, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson; and framed or mounted awards and citations that were given to him.

The Miscellaneous File, an accretion that was added to the collection in 2001, consists of three subseries: a Historical File, containing correspondence between Keyserling and Professor W. Robert Brazelton of the Economics Department of the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and copies of published items and documents relating to to economic policy and Keyserling's career from 1945 to 1987; a Conference on Economic Progess Publications File, containing booklets on economic policy (mostly written by Keyserling) that were published by the nonprofit organization he established in 1954 to promote his economic views; and a Printed Materials File, which contains a variety of published items pertaining to Keyserling's career.

Materials relating to Leon H. Keyserling and the Council of Economic Advisers can be found in the following Truman Library collections: the papers of Harry S. Truman (President's Secretary's Files and Official File), Edwin G. Nourse, John D. Clark, Roy Blough, Robert C. Turner, Walter S. Salant, and John W. Snyder. Information concerning the Employment Act of 1946 can be found in the papers of Gerhard Colm. The papers of Raymond Foley, Bryn Hovde, Will Clayton and Philleo Nash contain material relating to public housing.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos.Series
1 HARRY S. TRUMAN FILE, 1946-1983
Correspondence, speeches, printed material (including newspaper clippings), and transcripts of an oral history interview and a scholarly conference, relating primarily to Keyserling's association with various activities commemorating Harry S. Truman. A small amount of correspondence between Keyserling and Harry and Bess Truman, and drafts of speeches on economic policy that Keyserling prepared for Truman following his presidency are also included. Arranged in rough chronological order.
2-15 COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS FILE, 1946-1976
consisting of five subseries as follows:
2-4
    REPORT FILE, 1946-1953, consisting of reports to the President and Congress, in the form of memoranda and formal, printed reports, relating to the American economy and the economic policies of the Truman administration. Arranged by type of report and chronologically thereunder.
5
    COUNCIL MEMBERS FILE, 1946-1974, consisting of correspondence, memoranda, reports and articles relating to the work of the members and staff of the CEA. Arranged alphabetically by name of person.
6-9
    SUBJECT FILE, 1946-1976, consisting of correspondence, memoranda, reports, minutes of meetings, charts and tables, speeches and statements, biographical sketches and a transcript of an oral history interview. Subjects covered include business groups, manpower, the steel industry, investment, fiscal policy and welfare programs. The folders entitled "White House Contacts" contain correspondence between the CEA and President Truman and the White House staff. Arranged alphabetically.
9-10
    STAFF STUDIES FILE, 1947-1971, consisting of reports, correspondence, a transcript and press releases relating to several areas of study of the CEA staff, such as anti-trust policy, international economics, productivity and small business. Arranged alphabetically by subject or name.
10-15
16-18 SUBJECT FILE, 1928-1987
Correspondence and other items. Arranged in alphabetical order.
19-26 CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENCE FILE, 1946-1987
Consisting of three subseries as follows:
19-20
    SENATE FILE, 1946-1987, arranged alphabetically by Senator and thereunder chronologically.
21
22-26
    HUMPHREY-HAWKINS BILL FILE, 1974-1985, consisting of drafts of legislation prepared by Keyserling, and other items. Arranged in rough chronological order.
27-50 SPEECH AND ARTICLE FILE, 1923-1989
Speeches and articles, course papers, press releases, newspaper clippings and other printed material, and correspondence relating to all of Keyserling's interests during his long career. Arranged chronologically by year, thereunder by various document types, and thereunder chronologically.
51-60 TESTIMONY FILE, 1940-1987
Consisting of two subseries as follows:
51-56
    CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY FILE, 1940-1987, consisting of published Congressional hearings and reports containing testimony by Keyserling. Most of the material in this subseries is from the period following Keyserling's tenure on the Council of Economic Advisers. Arranged chronologically.
57-60
    NON-CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY FILE, 1962-1974, consisting of Keyserling's testimony before the Interstate Commerce Commission and various state public utility commissions. Arranged chronologically.
60-68 STUDIES AND REPORTS FILE, 1937-1983
Consisting of four subseries as follows:
60-64
    LABOR RELATIONS FILE, 1959-1980, consisting of reports prepared by Keyserling concerning the pay of various categories of workers and the prospects of certain industries. Arranged in chronological order, with the exception that three folders bearing early dates are filed at the end of the series.
64
    INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS FILE, 1955-1979, consisting of reports written by Keyserling on economic programs and problems in India and Israel. Four reports on Israel, arranged chronologically, follow a single report on India.
65-67
    CONFERENCE ON ECONOMIC PROGRESS FILE, 1954-1983, consisting of reports on employment, wages, inflation, interest rates, tax policy, agriculture, eduation and housing. Arranged in chronological order, with the exception that the last six folders begin the chronological order over again.
68
    MISCELLANEOUS FILE, 1937-1970, consisting of reports concerning the judiciary, employment, the natural gas industry, and education. Arranged chronologically.
69-83 CLIPPINGS FILE, 1933-1983
Consisting of six subseries as follows:
69-76
    CHRONOLOGICAL FILE, 1933-1983, consisting of clippings, arranged chronologically. This is the largest and most comprehensive subseries in the Clippings File. Its coverage is particularly strong for the years 1933 and 1949-1952.
76-79
    COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISORS FILE, 1946-1958, consisting of clippings about the resignation of the CEA's first chairman, Edwin G. Nourse; the CEA's reports to the President and the President's reports to Congress; Truman's messages and statements on subjects other than economics; and Truman's economic talks in 1958. Arranged chronologically.
79-80
    "IMPORTANT CLIPPINGS" FILE, 1959-1983, consisting of clippings concerning Keyserling's statements on economic issues. The designation "important" is Keyserling's own. Arranged chronologically.
80
    GENERAL CLIPPINGS FILE, 1963-1971, consisting of clippings relating to Keyserling and economic issues. The designation "general" is Keyserling's own. Arranged chronologically.
80
81-83
    CONFERENCE ON ECONOMIC PROGRESS FILE, 1954-1975, consisting of clippings and a few press releases relating particularly to Keyserling, who was the founder and first president of the Conference on Economic Progress. Arranged alphabetically by subject.
83-84 MEMORABILIA FILE, 1927-1983
Three papers written by Keyserling in the 1920s, while he was a student at Columbia University; exchanges of correspondence between Keyserling and Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson, and John Kennedy; two reports written for candidate and President-elect John Kennedy; and awards and certificates given to Keyserling. Arranged in roughly chronological order, with the awards and certificates at the end of the series.
84-87 MISCELLANEOUS FILE, 1945-1989 (2001 Accretion)
Consisting of three subseries as follows:
84-85
    HISTORICAL FILE, 1945-1987, consisting of correspondence between Keyserling and Professor W. Robert Brazelton of the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and copies of printed material, memoranda, and other documents relating to Keyserling and economic policy. Arranged alphabetically.
85-86
86-87
    PRINTED MATERIALS FILE, 1966-1989, consisting of various publications, many of them featuring articles by Keyserling. Arranged alphabetically.

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