Federal Reserve

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Senator Carter Glass was deeply involved in financial legislation

Among the many accomplishments of the Wilson administration, we must include the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act. This included a Federal Reserve Board, appointed by the President, and regional Federal Reserve Banks. It all helped to clarify US currency and forced the banking system to hold money in reserve in an effort to prevent financial panics.

As part of the digital library, we hold several hundred documents from the Benjamin Strong Jr. Collection from the New York Federal Reserve Bank. These documents cover legislation and banking rates, but also the personal letters between the high-ranking politicians and bankers involved in shaping national financial policy.

We can also find some unexpected glimpses into life in the early 20th century. In one memo to the military mission to Armenia, we learn that all the staff on site in Paris will be expected to leave on the morning train for the move to Brest and that THERE ARE NO DINING CAR FACILITIES ON THIS TRAIN.

Women’s Work in Wartime

Just as they did famously during World War Two, American women took on more types of work during the Great War than most of them could find during times of peace. The country organized for the production of huge amounts of weapons and supplies, using as much labor as possible, while the conscription of men left many of their regular jobs short of workers. So, women had chances at new opportunities in the labor market. Many of these wartime jobs were not well-paid or particularly easy. They did, however, provide the opportunity for new experiences and better incomes. Continue reading

Sailing to Paris

Edith and Woodrow Wilson sailed to Europe soon after the war ended with great fanfare at home and even more celebration when they got to France. Edith wrote in a letter from the ship that the docks were lined with men and women at attention to send them off. Every effort was made to keep the president comfortable as he sailed off to take part in the peace negotiations, including carrier pigeons on board to bring last-minute messages back to New York.