Charles Sumner Hamlin

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Charles Sumner Hamlin
1st Chair of the Federal Reserve
In office
August 10, 1914 – August 9, 1916
PresidentWoodrow Wilson
DeputyFrederic Adrian Delano
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byWilliam P. G. Harding
Member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors
In office
August 10, 1914 – February 3, 1936
PresidentWoodrow Wilson
Warren G. Harding
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byRalph Morrison
Personal details
Born(1861-08-30)August 30, 1861
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedApril 24, 1938(1938-04-24) (aged 76)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Huybertje Pruyn
(m. 1898)
EducationHarvard University (BA, MA)

Charles Sumner Hamlin (August 30, 1861 – April 24, 1938) was an American lawyer and politician who served as the first chair of the Federal Reserve from 1914 to 1916. He previously served as the United States assistant secretary of the treasury from 1893 to 1897 and again from 1913 until 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson nominated him as one of the original members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. After his term as chairman, Hamlin continued to serve on the Board through 1936.[1]

Early life[edit]

Charles Sumner Hamlin was born in Boston, Massachusetts on August 30, 1861, to Anna and Edward Hamlin. His mother was born in England to Irish parents, while his father, a coal dealer, was from Massachusetts.[2] He graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1883 and received his Master of Arts from Harvard in 1886. Sumner studied law while completing his master's degree and attained admission to the bar in 1886, practicing law in Boston.


From 1893 to 1897 and again from 1913 to 1914, Hamlin was the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. He twice ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Massachusetts, in 1902 and 1910. On August 10, 1914, he was appointed the first Chairman of the Federal Reserve and served in that capacity until August 9, 1916. Hamlin remained as Fed's board member until 1936. He lectured at Harvard University on government studies from 1902 to 1903.

In 1912, Hamlin was vice president of the Woodrow Wilson College Men's League and president of the Woodrow Wilson League of Massachusetts. He also published pamphlets on statistical and financial subjects, including an Index Digest of Interstate Commerce Laws (1907) and the Index Digest of the Federal Reserve Bulletin (1921).


Hamlin died in Washington, D.C. on April 24, 1938.[1][3][4] He was buried at Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.


In 1898, Sumner married Huybertje Lansing Pruyn (April 8, 1878 – March 6, 1964), the daughter of John V. L. Pruyn and granddaughter of Amasa J. Parker.


Hamlin's papers are archived at the Library of Congress.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Charles S. Hamlin Dies in Washington. First Governor of the Federal Reserve Board Had Served From 1914 to 1936. Treasury Aide Since 1893. Was Member of Many Foreign Commissions. Honored by Japan for Famine Aid Served on Many Commissions Decorated by Japan". The New York Times. April 25, 1938. Retrieved October 27, 2012. April 24. Charles Sumner Hamlin, first governor of the Federal Reserve Board, died today after a long illness. He was 76 years old. At his death he was special counsel to the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System.
  2. ^ "United States Census, 1880", database with images, FamilySearch: August 14, 2017, Edward S Hamlin, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; citing enumeration district ED 753, sheet 232A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0560; FHL microfilm 1,254,560.
  3. ^ "Chas. S. Hamlin Dies in Boston [sic]". Reading Times. Associated Press. April 25, 1938. p. 16.
  4. ^ Carnegie Endowment (1928). Annual Report. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. p. 179.
  5. ^ "Charles Sumner Hamlin". Library of Congress. Retrieved November 17, 2009. Lawyer, politician, assistant secretary of the treasury, and governor of the Federal Reserve Board. Correspondence, diaries, manuscripts of writings and speeches, biographical notes, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, printed matter and other papers relating chiefly to Hamlin's service in the United States Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System, his civic affairs, and his family's social life in Washington, D.C.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Government offices
New office Member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors
Succeeded by
Ralph Morrison
Chair of the Federal Reserve
Succeeded by