Benjamin U. Ratchford papers, 1924-1980

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Ratchford, Benjamin Ulysses, 1902-
Benjamin Ratchford (1902-1977) was a former professor of economics at Duke University. This collection primarily documents his professional life through his correspondence and research. It forms part of the Economists' Papers Archive.
4.5 Linear Feet (Three boxes.)
Material in English.
Collection ID:
University Archives Record Group:
29 -- Papers of Faculty, Staff, and Associates
29 -- Papers of Faculty, Staff, and Associates > 02 -- Individuals


Scope and content:

The Benjamin U. Ratchford Papers contain correspondence, subject files, teaching materials, documents, writings, notes, reports, a journal, and a scrapbook. Major subjects present within the collection include the Duke University administration and Economics Dept., the Federal Reserve Bank, the Office of Price Administration, the economy of Germany after World War II, the United States War Department, and monetary regulation.

The papers are organized into two series, Correspondence and Subject Files. The Correspondence series contains correspondence with a number of individuals and organizations relating to Ratchford's work as a professor, researcher, economic advisor, and editor. The correspondence also outlines his role as vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The Subject Files series covers various topics, including the Federal Reserve Bank, the Duke University Economics Department, teaching materials, the resignation of President A. Hollis Edens, the Office of Price Administration, economics organizations, and economics subjects. Also present in this series are several travel logs, including a scrapbook documenting a 1936 road trip across the country and a journal kept during Ratchford's 1945-1946 trip to Berlin working as an Economic Advisor for Level of Industry to the Office of Military Government for Germany.

Biographical / historical:

Benjamin Ulysses Ratchford (1902-1977) was a white American academic economist who was born in Gastonia, North Carolina to Joseph F. and Marietta Ratchford. He earned a BS from Davidson College (1926), and earned the first doctorate in economics awarded by Duke University in 1932. After serving briefly as an economics instructor at Cornell University (1927-1928), he returned to Duke and joined the faculty of the Economics Department in 1928. While at Duke, he authored several books, such as American State Debts (1941), Berlin Reparations Assignment (with W. D. Ross, 1947), The Impact of Federal Policies on the Economy of the South (with Calvin B. Hoover, 1949), Economic Resources and Policies of the South (with Calvin B. Hoover, 1951), The Economy of Turkey (with others, 1951), and Public Expenditures in Australia (1959), as well as numerous articles in professional journals.

Ratchford also served in a number of official positions, including Raleigh District Price Officer for the Office of Price Administration (1942-1943), Instructor in the Army Finance School (1943-1944), Economic Advisor for Level of Industry in the Office of Military Government for Germany in Berlin (1945-1946), Deputy Chief of the Office of Program Review for the Economic Cooperation Administration in Paris (1948), and Chief Economist for the International Bank Reconstruction and Development Mission to Turkey (1950). He received the Medal of Freedom in 1946 for his work on German reparations, awarded by the War Department to civilians performing meritorious service overseas during World War II. Davidson College awarded him a Citation of Merit in 1948, an honor made on the basis of a national poll of Davidson alumni.

Ratchford was also a member of the board of editors of the Southern Economic Journal (1941-1945) and of the American Economic Review (1946-1949), and he directed research for the National Planning Association's Committee of the South. He was a member of the American Finance Association, the National Tax Association, the American Economic Association, and the Southern Economic Association (president, 1952-1953).

In 1960, Ratchford left Duke to become vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, Virginia. He retired in 1967 and returned to Durham.

Ratchford married Laura B. Deaton in 1932 and they had two children.

Acquisition information:
The Benjamin U. Ratchford papers were received by the University Archives as gifts between 1974-1983.
Processing information:

Processed by University Archives staff, May 2004.

Encoded by Jill Katte, May 2004.


Benjamin U. Ratchford papers are arranged into two series: Correspondence and Subject Files.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Collection is open for research.

Terms of access:

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Benjamin U. Ratchford papers, University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University.