Baker Library adds Andrew F. Brimmer papers to special collections

Dr. Andrew F. Brimmer. Courtesy of Doris Brimmer

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The collected papers of Dr. Andrew F. Brimmer (1926-2012), the prominent economist, monetary policy expert, Federal Reserve governor, professor, advisor, and consultant, are now part of the permanent Special Collections at Harvard Business School’s (HBS) Baker Library. A gift of Brimmer’s wife, Ms. Doris M.S. Brimmer, and their daughter, Dr. Esther Brimmer, this extensive collection of materials, comprising 275 linear feet (528 boxes), becomes available today for scholarly research.

In addition, several items from the collected papers are now part of the exhibit in the north foyer of Baker Library celebrating Black History Month and the 50th anniversary of the formation of the African American Student Union (AASU), a student club at HBS. Brimmer was the first African American member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors.

The Brimmer Collection includes subject files, correspondence, research files, teaching records and files, writings, speeches, presentations, rough drafts, newspaper clippings, photographs, digital content, and audiovisual materials. It is arranged to reflect and document the phases of Brimmer’s life, first as an academic, then his transition to practicing economist in the U.S. government, and finally as an economic consultant.

“We are honored to add Dr. Andrew Brimmer’s vast array of important papers to our Special Collections,” said Collections’ Senior Director Laura Linard, “and we are grateful to his wife and daughter, as well as to their friends Professor Martin S. Feldstein of Harvard University’s Economics Department and Dr. Kathleen F. Feldstein for making it possible. This important collection will be invaluable to students and scholars interested in topics such as international monetary policy, capital markets, central banking, and economic issues in the African American community for generations to come.”

Providing her perspective, Ms. Doris Brimmer said, “My husband and I first met on the Harvard campus in the fall of 1952. He was fresh from his Fulbright studies in India and had enrolled in the PhD program in economics at Harvard. I had just graduated from Barnard College (Columbia University) in the Class of 1952 and had enrolled in a one-year program that led to the master of arts in teaching degree from Radcliffe. We were married on July 18, 1953, and shared the rest of our lives together. At the time of his death, we had been married for 59 years. We shared our lives and thoughts, and I hope his hard work and professional thoroughness may inspire other scholars in the future. I think he would have been happy to know his papers were accepted in the Special Collections. My thanks and best wishes to all who worked so hard to organize this.”

Dr. Esther Brimmer, an expert on international relations and Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, noted, “My father had a deep commitment to intellectual curiosity, scholarship, and excellence. This commitment infused his life and work. He would have been so pleased and proud that his papers will be a resource for—and an inspiration to—researchers and practitioners in the future.”