William P. G. Harding

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William Harding
W. P. G. Harding LCCN2016858906 (retouched).jpg
2nd Chair of the Federal Reserve
In office
August 10, 1916 – August 9, 1922
PresidentWoodrow Wilson
Warren G. Harding
DeputyPaul Warburg
Albert Strauss
Edmund Platt
Preceded byCharles Sumner Hamlin
Succeeded byDaniel Richard Crissinger
Member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors
In office
August 10, 1914 – August 9, 1922
PresidentWoodrow Wilson
Warren G. Harding
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byDaniel Richard Crissinger
3rd President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
In office
January 16, 1923 – April 7, 1930
Preceded byCharles Morss
Succeeded byRoy A. Young
Personal details
Born(1864-05-05)May 5, 1864
Boligee, Alabama, U.S.
DiedApril 7, 1930(1930-04-07) (aged 65)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (BA)

William Proctor Gould Harding (May 5, 1864 – April 7, 1930) was an American banker who served as the 2nd chair of the Federal Reserve from 1916 to 1922. Prior to his term as chairman, Harding appointed a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors since 1914. He concurrently served as the managing director of the War Finance Corporation from 1918 to 1919. After leaving the Fed, Harding traveled to Cuba and advised Cuban government on reorganization it's financial and accounting system.

He returned to United States a year later and was elected governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston from 1923 until his death in 1930.

Early life[edit]

Harding was born on May 5, 1864, to Horace Harding and Eliza Proctor Gould Harding in Boligee, Alabama. The portrait painter Chester Harding was a grandfather.[1] He received his early education in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and before entering the University of Alabama he received his preparatory support from many established and respected educators such as Dr. Warfield C. Richardson and Prof. Joseph M. Dill.[2]

He entered the University of Alabama in 1878 and received a Bachelor of Arts in 1880 and continued his studies for an extra year to obtain a Master of Arts at the time becoming the youngest student to acquire his degree. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1881 and further continued his studies again in business college at Poughkeepsie, New York.


He returned to Tuscaloosa and began working at J. H. Fitts and Company for three years as a bookkeeper and clerk. He then moved to Birmingham, Alabama, to work again as a bookkeeper for Berney National Bank where he was promoted to cashier three years later. In 1896, he was elected as vice-president of the First National Bank of Birmingham and then elected president on June 28, 1902.

Under his administration he was recognized as the most notable banker in the south and was recognized nationally. In 1913 he was elected as president of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.[2]

Later life[edit]

Harding relinquished his title when asked by President Woodrow Wilson to become a member of the Federal Reserve Board on August 10, 1914, before the onset of World War I.[3] On August 10, 1916, he was appointed by Woodrow to become Governor of the Federal Reserve Board and was appointed director of the War Finance Corporation until 1922.[2] In addition, the University of Alabama distinguished Harding with a degree of Legum Doctor in 1916.

In 1922 he was requested by the President of Cuba Alfredo Zayas y Alfonso to reorganize the country's financial and accounting systems.[4] He returned to America in 1923 and was appointed as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston where he served until his death on April 7, 1930[5][6] from heart failure after a long illness at his home in Boston, Massachusetts.

Personal life[edit]

In October 1895 he was married to Amanda Moore, a granddaughter of Alabama congressman Sydenham Moore, and with her had three children before her death in 1910. He was a member of the Freemasonry fraternal organization and an Episcopalian.[2]


  1. ^ Owen, Thomas McAdory (1921). History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography. Vol. III. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. pp. 744–747.
  2. ^ a b c d Moore, Daniel Decatur (1922). Men of the South. New Orleans: Southern Biographical Association.
  3. ^ "Three appointees to the Federal Reserve Board". The Independent. New York: S.W. Benedict. July 13, 1914 – via Internet Archive.
  4. ^ "Wedenesday, November 1, 1922". The New York Times – via TimesMachine.
  5. ^ "W.P.G. Harding Dies; Federal Bank Head; Governor of Boston Reserve Bank Was National Financial Leader During and After War. Foresaw Crises of 1920 and Last Year. Deflation Policy Assailed When He Started It. Brother Coming From Virginia. Began Work as Bank Clerk. Prevented Cotton Price Crash. Crissinger Succeeded Him. Secretary Mellon and Governor Young Pay Tributes to Banker". New York Times. April 8, 1930. Retrieved January 7, 2011. William P.G. Harding, Governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston since January, 1923, and formerly Governor of the Federal Reserve Board, died today at Algonquin Club, where he had lived for a number of years. He was 65 years old.
  6. ^ Boston, Federal Reserve Bank of. "Past Presidents of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston". Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Government offices
New office Member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the Federal Reserve
Other offices
Preceded by
Charles Morss
President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Succeeded by