Dr. Sol Taylor

Our Secretaries of the Treasury

By Dr. Sol Taylor
"Making Cents"
Saturday, June 7, 2008

ince our first presidential appointment to the post of Secretary of the Treasury in 1789 (it was Alexander Hamilton), 70 men have held the position.
    The job description includes the making of our money, securing our gold reserves, and other fiscal roles of government. At one time it was also the office which included the United States Coast Guard.
    Hamilton is perhaps best known for the establishment of our monetary system based on 100 copper cents to the dollar, and 10 silver dollars to one gold eagle. That held fairly steady until the 1930s.
    Some other secretaries had to face fiscal crises, shortage of currency and coinage, major changes in our monetary system, opening new mints, closing old mints, selling surplus silver dollars and silver bullion, fighting counterfeiting, and other matters affecting our monetary system.
    Following in order from Hamilton were:
Oliver Wolcott Jr. 1795-1800
Samuel Dexter 1801
Albert Gallatin 1801-1814
George W. Campbell 1814
Alexander J. Dallas 1814-1816
William H. Crawford 1816-1825
Richard Rush 1825-1829
Samuel D. Ingham 1829-1831
Louis McLane 1831-1833
William J. Duane 1833
Roger B. Taney 1833-1834
Levi Woodbury 1834-1841
Thomas Ewing 1841
Walter Forward 1841-1843
John C. Spencer 1843-1844
George M. Bibb 1844-1845
Robert J. Walker 1845-1849
William M. Meredith 1849-1850
Thomas Corwin 1850-1853
James Guthrie 1853-1857
Philip F. Thomas 1860-1861
John A. Dix 1861
Salmon P. Chase 1861-1864 (first secretary to have signed national currency notes. Served under Abraham Lincoln.)
William P. Fessenden 1864-1865
Hugh McCulloch 1865-1869
George S. Boutwell 1869-1873
William A. Richardson 1873-1874
Benjamin H. Bristow 1874-1876
Lot M. Morrill 1876-1877
John Sherman 1877-1881
William Windom 1881
Charles J. Folger 1881-1884
Walter Q. Gresham 1884
Hugh McCulloch 1884-1885
Daniel Manning 1885-1887
Charles S. Fairchild 1887-1889
William Windom 1889-1891
Charles Foster 1891-1893
John G. Carlisle 1893-1897
Lyman J. Gage 1897-1902
Leslie M. Shaw 1902-1907
George B. Cortelyou 1907-1909
Franklin MacVeagh 1909-1913
William G. McAdoo 1913-1918
Carter Glass 1918-1920
David F. Houston 1920-1921
Andrew W. Mellon 1921-1932
Ogden L. Mills 1932-1933
William H. Woodin 1933
Henry Morgenthau Jr 1934-1945
Fred M. Vinson 1945-1946
John W. Snyder 1946-1953
George M. Humphrey. 1953-1957
Robert B. Anderson 1957-1961
C. Douglas Dillon 1961-1965
Henry H. Fowler 1965-1968
Joseph W. Barr December 1968-January 1969 (shortest tenure, at 30 days. Many believe the $1 notes with the Barr signature have some numismatic value — they do not.)
David M. Kennedy 1969-1971
John B. Connally 1971-1972
George P. Schultz 1972-1974
William E. Simon 1974-1977
W. Michael Blumenthal 1977-1979
G. William Miller 1979-1981
Donald T. Regan 1981-1985
James A. Baker, III 1985-1988
Nicholas F. Brady 1988-1993
Lloyd M. Bentsen 1993-1994
Robert E. Rubin 1995-1999
Lawrence H. Summers 1999-2001
Paul H. O'Neill 2001-2002
John W. Snow 2003-2006
Henry M. Paulson, Jr. 2006-present
    Note that many of these men also served other government positions including governor, supreme court justice, secretary of state, United States senator, and member of Congress. Also note that most positions lasted a relatively short time.
    For the biography of any of these men, Google his name.