Dwight Eisenhower Library

The website of the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas, is an access portal for oral histories of the administration that are available through multiple institutions, primarily the Eisenhower Library, the Columbia University Oral History Project, as well as other libraries with smaller collections. The library website provides detailed abstracts of linked interviews, but in most cases researchers must visit the repositories to access transcripts for audio files. (A limited number of transcripts are available online.) The full list of interviews is available at the Eisenhower library’s oral history page.

An initial survey reveals nineteen interviews with abstracts or transcripts available through the Eisenhower library that contain significant content pertaining to regulatory issues. These interviews provide a window on the evolution of the post-war American regulatory state, with particular attention to global contexts, including the Cold War, the Korean war, the development of the European Common Market, and advancements in and proliferation of nuclear energy technologies and weapons. The Atomic Energy Commission, the Federal Reserve, and the agricultural commodities trade (esp. sugar) receive particular attention in these geopolitical contexts. Domestically, post-war economic growth fostered renewed political debate over the federal government’s role in the economy and the continued utility of regulatory policies first instituted during the New Deal. Several interviews discuss the establishment of the Federal Aviation Agency (precursor to the Federal Aviation Administration) and the growth of the airline industry. Changes to the policy structures for the regulation of agricultural commodities are also a prominent themes. Many interviews cover issues related to  U.S. fiscal and economic policies and regulations. Several discuss the activities and internal politics of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors. Others discuss appointments, staffing, and regulatory actions by the Securities and Exchange commission and enforcement of anti-trust policy by the Justice Department.

Summary by:  Elizabeth Brake

Interviews on Business History

Project description: This is the catch all for business history interviews housed at the Regional Oral History Office at UC – Berkeley. These are interviews with major West Coast players in a wide variety of industries and business sectors: textiles, shipping, banking, agriculture, import-export businesses, etc. Most of the interviews are extensive life histories and transcripts run to hundreds of pages.

Regulatory significance: A large swath of these interviews at least touch on regulatory issues related to the specific industries that the interviewees worked in. This is a very rich collection for exploring the perspective of business on government regulation. Of particular note on financial regulation is an interview with Walter E. Hoadley, former Federal Reserve system director.

Repository: University of California – Berkeley

Interview dates: 1955 – present

Digital access: Transcripts for these interviews are available online.

Physical access: For access to all transcripts and audio, visit the Bancroft Library at UC-Berkeley, California.

Link: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/ROHO/collections/subjectarea/business/businesst.html

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Project description: Per the finding aid, these five interviews provide the current and past presidents of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis with the opportunity to reflect on what they perceive to be the key historical events and managerial decisions that have influenced Bank history. The interviews address topics such as policy development and implementation, organization, staffing, building issues, special initiatives, and major operational events.

Regulatory significance: These interviews are instructive regarding financial regulation, particularly as it relates to agriculture and the linkages in the Federal Reserve.

Repository: Minnesota Historical Society

Interview dates: 1991-1992

Digital access: Transcripts are available online.

Physical access: Audio tapes are kept at the Federal Reserve Bank Library in Minneapolis.