Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker Donates Public Service Papers to Princeton

Volcker PaulPaul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, has donated his public service papers to Princeton University, where he earned his undergraduate degree in 1949. His papers are now part of the school’s permanent collection.

The documents include correspondence, speeches, reports and memos. They are housed in the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, a division of the Princeton University Library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

Consisting of 29 boxes, with an additional 30 expected in the coming months, the collection documents Volcker’s time as chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, where he served under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Several of the boxes relate to his tenure as undersecretary of the Treasury for International Monetary Affairs and as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Additional materials will be transferred to the library detailing Volcker’s work with the World Bank, United Nations and President Barack Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, on which he served as chairman.

“Paul Volcker is one of Princeton’s most distinguished alumni from the second half of the 20th century, and so I am very happy that the Mudd Library will be home to the documents from his remarkable public service career,” said Daniel Linke, University archivist and curator of public policy papers. “His papers touch upon our nation’s — and the world’s — economic history, as well his work with a number of humanitarian efforts. This collection will be a rich resource for students and scholars for many years to come.”

Volcker, 88, is the Frederick H. Schultz Class of 1951 Professor of International Economic Policy, Emeritus, at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Most recently, he was instrumental in creating the “Volcker Rule,” a regulation in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act banning U.S. commercial banks from proprietary trading. This rule, which Obama endorsed in 2010, prohibits banks from making certain investments, especially with regard to hedge funds and private equity funds. The rule is intended to prevent banks from making speculative investments, such as those seen during the 2008 financial crisis.

Prior to his work as Federal Reserve chairman, Volcker divided his time between the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Chase Manhattan Bank and the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Between 1996 and 1999, Volcker headed a committee formed to identify existing dormant accounts and other assets in Swiss banks of victims of Nazi persecution. These documents will ultimately be in the collection at Princeton.

Volcker earned his master’s in political economy from Harvard University in 1951. He attended the London School of Economics from 1951 to 1952.  At Princeton, Volcker was named a senior fellow by the Wilson School in 1975 and later served as a charter trustee of Princeton from 1984 to 1988. He became a professor at the Wilson School in 1988 and transferred to emeritus status in 1997.

Volcker’s public service documents will be available within a year at the closed-stack Mudd Library, a state-of-the-art facility that houses more than 35,000 linear feet of archival documents.

“Given all that Paul Volcker has done related to public service, we fully expect this to be a well-used collection,” Linke said.

While Mudd Library will maintain most of Volcker’s public service papers, documents detailing Volcker’s time at the Treasury Department are housed at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.