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Guide to the Benjamin U. Ratchford Papers, 1924 - 1980

Abstract

Benjamin U. Ratchford (1902-1977) served as professor of economics at Duke University from 1928-1960. An expert in public finance, Ratchford was involved a number of economic policy projects, including the reconstruction of Germany after World War II. The papers consist of correspondence, subject files, teaching materials, documents, clippings, writings, notes, reports, a journal, and a scrapbook. Major subjects include Duke Univ. administration and Economics Dept., the Federal Reserve Bank, the Office of Price Administration, the economy of Germany after World War II, the U.S. War Department, and monetary regulation.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Benjamin U. Ratchford papers 1924 - 1980
Creator
Ratchford, Benjamin Ulysses, 1902-
Extent
4.5 Linear Feet , 3,000 Items
Repository
University Archives, Duke University
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult University Archives, Duke University.
Language
English.

Collection Overview

The Benjamin U. Ratchford Papers contain correspondence, subject files, teaching materials, documents, writings, notes, reports, a journal, and a scrapbook. Major subjects present within the collection include the Duke University administration and Economics Dept., the Federal Reserve Bank, the Office of Price Administration, the economy of Germany after World War II, the United States War Department, and monetary regulation.

The papers are organized into two series, Correspondence and Subject Files. The Correspondence series contains correspondence with a number of individuals and organizations relating to Ratchford's work as a professor, researcher, economic advisor, and editor. The correspondence also outlines his role as vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The Subject Files series covers various topics, including the Federal Reserve Bank, the Duke University Economics Department, teaching materials, the resignation of President A. Hollis Edens, the Office of Price Administration, economics organizations, and economics subjects. Also present in this series are several travel logs, including a scrapbook documenting a 1936 road trip across the country and a journal kept during Ratchford's 1945-1946 trip to Berlin working as an Economic Advisor for Level of Industry to the Office of Military Government for Germany.

Administrative Information

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warning Access Restrictions

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

In off-site storage; 48 hours advance notice is required for use.

warning Use Restrictions

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Contents of the Collection

This series contains correspondence with a variety of individuals and organizations. Early correspondence includes letters from Ratchford's friends and colleagues during World War II. Other correspondence from this time relates to Ratchford's work on the economy of post-war Germany. The later correspondence relates to Ratchford's roles as professor, researcher, economic advisor, and editor. In 1959, the correspondence documents a Ford Foundation grant to conduct a study of the economy of the South. In a letter at the end of 1959, Ratchford gives advice to Duke President A. Hollis Edens just before his resignation. Correspondence in 1960 outlines Ratchford's transition to his position as vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Letters in 1977 were notes of sympathy to Ratchford's family. An additional folder contains correspondence and autographs collected by Laura Ratchford. These materials feature autographs and autograph facsimiles of politicians.

June 1944-July 1977 and undated
[18 folders]
Box 1
Laura Ratchford correspondence and autographs, ca. 1954-1975
Box 1

This series contains subject files of Ratchford's papers, such as documents, clippings, reports, a journal, a scrapbook, printed matter, and other materials. These files cover a number of topics, including the Federal Reserve Bank, the Duke University Economics Department, teaching materials, the resignation of President A. Hollis Edens, the Office of Price Administration, economics organizations of which Ratchford was member, and various economic subjects, such as public finance, monetary policy, and taxation. Also present in this series are several travel logs kept by Ratchford and his wife, Laura, including a scrapbook documenting a 1936 road trip they took across the country, as well as a journal Ratchford kept during a 1945-1946 trip to Berlin working as an Economic Advisor for Level of Industry to the Office of Military Government for Germany.

U.S. Government: employment forms and documents
Box 1
Federal Reserve Bank: employment forms and documents
Box 1
Personal papers: Berlin occupation
Box 1
Office of Price Administration
Box 1
Aphorisms, Anecdotes, Quotations
Box 1
Australia trip
Box 1
Coin collecting
Box 1
Economics 201
Box 1
Economics 153, 230, 233, 234, 235, S238
Box 1
Economics 329, 330
Box 1
Central Banks [University of Florida], 1971
Box 1
Duke Univ. Economics Dept.
Box 1
Biographical, honors, awards
Box 1
Journal, Aug. 15, 1945-Feb. 2, 1946

Ratchford kept this journal during his trip to Berlin while working as an Economic Advisor for Level of Industry to the Office of Military Government for Germany.

Box 1
Laura Ratchford travel diaries, 1957-1980
Box 2
Federal Reserve data
[2 folders]
Box 2
General economics
Box 2
Public pay policies
Box 2
Negative income tax; Guaranteed annual income
Box 2
Monetary regulation
[2 folders]
Box 2
Occupation currencies
Box 2
U.S. Federal finance
Box 2
U.S. Government finance
Box 2
National Tax Association
Box 2
Duke Power Co. rate increase testimony and hearings
[2 folders]
Box 2
AAUP
Box 2
A Suggested Plan of Administrative Organization for Duke University, 1960
Box 2
Committee on Retirement Housing
Box 2
President Edens resignation
Box 2
Student demonstration, 1969
Box 2
Friends of the Duke University Library
Box 2
American State Debts, reviews
Box 2
Committee of the South (N.P.A.)
Box 2
Southern Institute of Economic Research
Box 2
Southern Finance Association
Box 2
Southern Economic Association
Box 2
Economic Development Administration: Conference of Capital Availability
Box 2
Tennessee Valley Authority
Box 2
Virginia state debt
Box 2
Administrative Study Committee
Box 2
Writings
Box 2
Scrapbook, 1936

Scrapbook kept by the Ratchfords during an automobile trip from Durham, N.C. to California and back in the fall of 1936. It includes maps, postcards, snapshots, and other materials.

Box 3
German Occupation -- Level of Industry, 1945-1946
[2 folders]
Box 3
Wood from Hitler's desk (Berlin) March 1946 [Wood fragment]
Box 3
Notes
[6 folders]
Box 3

Historical Note

Benjamin Ulysses Ratchford was born in Gastonia, N.C. on Sept. 7, 1902, to Joseph F. and Marietta Ratchford. He earned a B.S. from Davidson College (1926), and earned the first doctorate in economics awarded by Duke University in 1932. After serving briefly as an economics instructor at Cornell University (1927-1928), Ratchford returned to Duke and joined the faculty of the Economics Department in 1928. While at Duke, Ratchford authored several books, such as American State Debts (1941), Berlin Reparations Assignment (with W. D. Ross, 1947), The Impact of Federal Policies on the Economy of the South (with Calvin B. Hoover, 1949), Economic Resources and Policies of the South (with Calvin B. Hoover, 1951), The Economy of Turkey (with others, 1951), and Public Expenditures in Australia (1959), as well as numerous articles in professional journals.

He also served in a number of official positions, including Raleigh District Price Officer for the Office of Price Administration (1942-1943), Instructor in the Army Finance School (1943-1944), Economic Advisor for Level of Industry in the Office of Military Government for Germany in Berlin (1945-1946), Deputy Chief of the Office of Program Review for the Economic Cooperation Administration in Paris (1948), and Chief Economist for the International Bank Reconstruction and Development Mission to Turkey (1950). Ratchford received the Medal of Freedom in 1946 for his work on German reparations, awarded by the War Department to civilians performing meritorious service overseas during World War II. Davidson College awarded him a Citation of Merit in 1948, an honor made on the basis of a national poll of Davidson alumni.

Ratchford was also a member of the board of editors of the Southern Economic Journal (1941-1945) and of the American Economic Review (1946-1949), and he directed research for the National Planning Association's Committee of the South. He was a member of the American Finance Association, the National Tax Association, the American Economic Association, and the Southern Economic Association (President, 1952-1953).

In 1960, Ratchford left Duke to become vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, Va. He retired from that position in 1967, and returned to Durham, N.C.

He married Laura B. Deaton in 1932; they had two children. Benjamin U. Ratchford died Jan. 20, 1977.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • Calvin Bryce Hoover Papers. (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • Economics Dept. Records. (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • News Service Biographical Files: Ratchford, Benjamin U. (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • The Economists' Papers Project. (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Benjamin U. Ratchford Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Benjamin U. Ratchford Papers were received by the University Archives as a gift in 1974-1983.

Processing Information

Processed by University Archives staff, Completed May 2004. Grade books and student grade reports were de-accessioned, May 2004.

Encoded by Jill Katte, May 2004

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.