Eugene Meyer
Eugene Isaac Meyer was an American financier, public official, publisher of the Washington Post newspaper. He served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve
Chairman of the Federal Reserve
The Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is the head of the central banking system of the United States. Known colloquially as "Chairman of the Fed," or in market circles "Fed Chairman" or "Fed Chief"...

 from 1930 to 1933. He was the father of publisher Katharine Graham
Katharine Graham
Katharine Meyer Graham was an American publisher. She led her family's newspaper, The Washington Post, for more than two decades, overseeing its most famous period, the Watergate coverage that eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon...



Born in Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

, he was one of eight children of Marc Eugene Meyer and Harriet Newmark. His parents were Jewish but he avoided identification as a Jew until later in life. He grew up in San Francisco
San Francisco, California
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

 and attended college across the bay at the University of California
University of California
The University of California is a public university system in the U.S. state of California. Under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the University of California is a part of the state's three-tier public higher education system, which also includes the California State University...

, but he dropped out after one year and later enrolled at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

. He received his A.B.
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 in 1895.

After college, Meyer went to work for Lazard Freres
Lazard Ltd is the parent company of Lazard Group LLC, a global, independent investment bank with approximately 2,300 employees in 42 cities across 27 countries throughout Europe, North America, Asia, Australia, Central and South America...

, where his father was a partner, but quit in 1901 after four years and went out on his own. He was a successful investor and speculator and owned a seat on the New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at 13.39 trillion as of Dec 2010...

. He married Agnes Elizabeth Ernst, a Lutheran, in 1910; they had five children, including the future Katharine Graham
Katharine Graham
Katharine Meyer Graham was an American publisher. She led her family's newspaper, The Washington Post, for more than two decades, overseeing its most famous period, the Watergate coverage that eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon...

 and another daughter Florence Meyer
Florence Meyer
Florence Meyer Homolka was a portrait photographer, socialite, and wife of actor Oscar Homolka.-Early life:...

 (1911-1962) (Mrs. Oscar Homolka
Oscar Homolka
Oskar Homolka was an Austrian film and theatre actor. Homolka's strong accent, stocky appearance, bushy eyebrows and Slavic name led many to believe he was Eastern European or Russian, but he was born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary.- Career :After serving in the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War...

). By 1915, when he was forty, he was worth $40 million.

In 1920, Meyer teamed with William H. Nichols
William H. Nichols
William Henry Nichols was a famous chemist and businessman who was instrumental in building the chemical supply business in the U.S. The specialty materials business of Honeywell traces its roots back a small sulfuric acid company he started in 1870. Nichols was one of the original founders of the...

 of General Chemical to help fulfill his vision of a bigger, better chemical company. Meyer and Nichols combined five smaller chemical companies to create the Allied Chemical & Dye Corporation, which later became Allied Chemical Corp., and eventually became part of AlliedSignal
AlliedSignal was an aerospace, automotive and engineering company that acquired and merged with Honeywell for $15 billion in 1999, after which the new group adopted the Honeywell name.AlliedSignal was created through a 1985 merger of Allied Corp...

, the forerunner of Honeywell
Honeywell International, Inc. is a major conglomerate company that produces a variety of consumer products, engineering services, and aerospace systems for a wide variety of customers, from private consumers to major corporations and governments....

’s specialty materials business. Both men have buildings named after them at Honeywell’s headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey
Morristown, New Jersey
Morristown is a town in Morris County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the town population was 18,411. It is the county seat of Morris County. Morristown became characterized as "the military capital of the American Revolution" because of its strategic role in the...


Meyer went to Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 during the World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 as a "dollar a year man" for Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

, becoming the head of the War Finance Corporation
War Finance Corporation
The War Finance Corporation was a government corporation in the United States created to give financial support to industries essential for World War I, and to banking institutions that aided such industries. It continued to give support to various efforts during the interwar period...

 and served there long after the end of hostilities. President Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge
John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States . A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state...

 named him as chairman of the Federal Farm Loan Board in 1927 and Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

 promoted him to chairman of the
Chairman of the Federal Reserve
The Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is the head of the central banking system of the United States. Known colloquially as "Chairman of the Fed," or in market circles "Fed Chairman" or "Fed Chief"...

 Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve System
The Federal Reserve System is the central banking system of the United States. It was created on December 23, 1913 with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, largely in response to a series of financial panics, particularly a severe panic in 1907...

 in 1930. He served in that capacity from September 16, 1930 to May 10, 1933.

Meyer strongly supported government relief to combat the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, taking on an additional post as chief of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation
Reconstruction Finance Corporation
The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was an independent agency of the United States government, established and chartered by the US Congress in 1932, Act of January 22, 1932, c. 8, 47 Stat. 5, during the administration of President Herbert Hoover. It was modeled after the War Finance Corporation...

, Hoover's unsuccessful attempt to aid companies by providing loans to businesses. Upon Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

's inauguration in 1933, he resigned his government posts.

Later in 1933, he bought the Washington Post at a bankruptcy auction, the paper having been ruined by its spendthrift socialite owner, Ned McLean
Edward Beale McLean
Edward Beale "Ned" McLean was the publisher and owner of the Washington Post newspaper from 1916 until 1933.Edward McLean was born into a publishing fortune founded by his paternal grandfather Washington McLean, who owned the Washington Post and the Cincinnati Enquirer...

. Over the next twenty years, Meyer spent millions of dollars of his own money to keep the money-losing paper in business, while focusing on improving its quality; by the 1950s, it was finally consistently profitable and was increasingly recognized for good reporting and important editorials. As publisher, Meyer occasionally contributed to stories: his friendship with the British Ambassador, Lord Lothian, led to a Washington Post scoop on reporting of Edward VIII
Edward VIII of the United Kingdom
Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India, from 20 January to 11 December 1936.Before his accession to the throne, Edward was Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay...

's relationship with Wallis Simpson.

After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Harry Truman named Meyer, then 70 years old, to be the first head of the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 in June 1946. Meyer appointed his son-in-law, Philip Graham, as publisher. After six months with the World Bank, Meyer returned to the Post, serving as Chairman of the Washington Post Company
Washington Post Company
The Washington Post Company is an American education and media company, best known for owning the newspaper for which it is named, The Washington Post. The Company also owns Kaplan, Inc., a leading international provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses...

 until his death in Washington in 1959.

Meyer's older sister, Florence Meyer Blumenthal, was noted for the philanthropic organization she formed, the Franco-American Florence Blumenthal Foundation, which awarded the Prix Blumenthal
Prix Blumenthal
The Prix Blumenthal was a grant or stipend awarded through the philanthropy of Florence Meyer Blumenthal — and the foundation she created, Fondation franco-américaine Florence Blumenthal — to discover young French artists, aid them financially, and in the process draw the United States...

to painters, sculptors, decorators, engravers, writers, and musicians.

External links

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