Edwin Griswold Nourse

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Edwin Nourse
Nourse (second from right), 1949
1st Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
In office
August 9, 1946 – November 1, 1949
PresidentHarry S. Truman
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byLeon Keyserling
Personal details
Born(1883-05-20)May 20, 1883
Lockport, New York, U.S.
DiedApril 7, 1974(1974-04-07) (aged 90)
Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationIllinois Institute of Technology
Cornell University (BA)
University of Chicago (MA, PhD)

Edwin Griswold Nourse (May 20, 1883 – April 7, 1974) was an American economist who served as the first chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers from 1946 to 1949.


Born in Lockport, New York, Nourse moved to a western suburb of Chicago at the age of four months, and considered himself a Midwesterner. His father worked in the city as a supervisor of public school music. His sister, Alice Tisdale Hobart, went on to become a bestselling novelist. In high school Nourse enjoyed English and history, and after spending a year at the Louis Institute, went on to Cornell University with an interest in civil engineering. In 1903 he was caught in a wave of typhoid fever that hit campus; upon his return he decided to simply get his A.B., but also took several classes at the College of Agriculture.[1]

Following college, Nourse taught for two years in high school, spent a year on graduate studies, and then taught at the Wharton School, where he conceived of agricultural economics. From there he transited through the University of South Dakota, the University of Arkansas, Iowa State College, and on to the University of Chicago, where he received his Ph.D. in 1915 for the dissertation "The Chicago Produce Market: A Study of Market Mechanism as a Factor in Price Determination". He continued to study and write about agricultural cooperation.[1]

Nourse was a friend of Harold Moulton, the first president of the Brookings Institution, and in 1923 he convinced Nourse to come work on the agriculture side of the Institute of Economics. He remained there until 1946, moving from the head of the agriculture division to director of Institute of Economics in 1929 and then vice president in 1942.[1]

Two years later in July he met President Harry S. Truman for the first time by way of Charles Griffith Ross to speak about becoming member of the newly created Council of Economic Advisors; Nourse subsequently resigned from Brookings to become its first chairman, with Leon Keyserling as his vice-chairman and John D. Clark as a member.[1]

Nourse was an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.[2][3]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Nourse, E. G., Tryon, F. G., Drury, H. B., Leven, M., Moulton, H. G., & Lewis, C. America's capacity to produce. 1934.
  • Nourse, Edwin Griswold, and Horace Bookwalter Drury. Industrial price policies and economic progress. 1938.


  1. ^ a b c d Hess, Jerry N. (1972-03-07). "Oral History Interview with Dr. Edwin G. Nourse". Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  2. ^ "Edwin Griswold Nourse". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2023-02-07.
  3. ^ "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved 2023-02-07.

External links[edit]

Political offices
New office Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
Succeeded by