Anna Schwartz’s Bequest to Posterity

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By Allan H. Meltzer

Anna Schwartz, a leading economist and historian, died today at the age of 96. She often said that she wanted to "die with her boots on." She got her wish.

Her most recent co-authored book, a comprehensive study of Federal Reserve exchange-rate intervention, will be published posthumously.

She began her research career long before there was a women's movement or government programs to expand opportunities for women. She overcame the many obstacles placed in the path of members of her sex by being both tenacious and extremely able. Her best-known work, with Milton Friedman, is "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960." This huge book, which changed economists' understanding of the Great Depression and the destructive policies of the Federal Reserve, is a classic that will sustain her scholarly reputation for posterity.

She did other important work: on British monetary policy, on exchange-rate policy, and on banking and monetary regulation. She was a founding member of the Shadow Open Market Committee, a group of independent economists who meet twice a year to evaluate the Fed’s policy choices.

Her academic career was spent at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where she wrote papers and co-authored research with Michael Bordo of Rutgers University.

She was married to Isaac Schwartz and had four children, who survive her. She loved opera and attended the Metropolitan Opera for many years.

Her contributions to economics will endure.

(Allan H. Meltzer, a professor of political economy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, is the author of "A History of the Federal Reserve, Volume 1: 1913-1951." The opinions expressed are his own.)

-0- Jun/21/2012 23:13 GMT