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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:78 1924-1946 M158

Thomas Harrington McKittrick papers


Chiefly papers relating to the Bank for International Settlements. Includes correspondence, files of Central Banks, monthly and quarterly reports, and statements. There are also earlier files relating to McKittrick's years with Lee, Higginson as well as some personal papers.


  • 1924-1946


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Some materials may be stored offsite; access requires advance notice. Contact for more information.

Due to preservation concerns, researchers are required to use microfilm copies of papers where available. Please contact reference staff at for more information regarding this collection and use of microfilm.


16 linear feet (3 volumes, 5 boxes, 8 cartons)

The largest part of this collection consists of correspondence and subject files relating to McKittrick’s time as president of the Bank for International Settlements. The collection also includes correspondence covering his years with Higginson and Company. There are also personal financial records as well as family correspondence.

The correspondence has been kept in its original order and falls into three categories. The first is “family”, which concerns personal matters exclusively and is part of Series 1, Personal Papers. “Business and personal,” covers a variety of subjects. An example of this would be an exchange of letters with a business associate of McKittrick’s that not only discusses banking matters but congratulates the associate on the birth of a son. The third category is “business,” which contains correspondence that pertains only to business topics.

A small amount of material is, because of its size, housed separately at the end of the collection. Those folders so noted in the container list.

Biographical Note:

American-born banker Thomas Harrington McKittrick (1889-1970) spent the greater part of his professional life in Europe. He is noted for serving as president of the Switzerland-based Bank for International Settlements throughout World War II.

Harrington was born in St. Louis, the son of Thomas Harrington and Hildegarde Sterling McKittrick. Graduating from Harvard in 1911, he began his banking career in St. Louis. He joined the National City Bank of New York in 1916, assigned to assist in opening a branch of the bank in Genoa. After service with the American Expeditionary Force in Europe (1918-1919) McKittrick spent two years in the New York office of Lee, Higginson & Company. In 1922 he transferred to Lee, Higginson’s London affiliate, Higginson & Company, becoming a partner in 1924. Higginson & Company shut down most of its operations in 1939, ending McKittrick’s association with the firm. Later that year he was elected president of the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, remaining in that position until 1946.

The Bank for International Settlements, founded in 1930, is a central banking institution, owned and controlled by the central banks of a number of industrialized nations. It’s primary purposes are, according to Article 3 of its original Statutes, “to promote the co-operation of central banks and to provide additional facilities for international financial operations…”

On leaving the B.I.S. in 1946, McKittrick joined The Chase National Bank in New York, where he remained until his “retirement” in 1954. Later he traveled to India for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development as well as becoming president and chairman of the Continental American Fund Incorporated until reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 1959.

McKittrick married Marjorie Benson in 1921. They had four children: Marjorie Sterling, Elisabeth Benson, Mary and Frances Anne.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:

  1. Series 1. Personal papers, 1924-1954
  2. ___Subseries 1.1 Financial records, 1924-1946
  3. ___Subseries 1.2 Family papers, 1932-1946
  4. ___Subseries 1.3 General papers, 1938-1954
  5. Series 2. Business papers, 1924-ca. 1950
  6. ___Subseries 2.1 Correspondence, 1924-1949
  7. ___Subseries 2.2 Subject files, 1931-1946
  8. ___Subseries 2.3 Writings, printed material and photographs, 1930-ca. 1950

Physical Location



Gift of Marjorie Benson McKittrick, 1969

Existence and Location of Copies

Collection is available on microfilm (28 reels, 35 mm.) from Historical Collections, Baker Library. Order no. 97-1957.

Processing Information

Processed: 1998

McKittrick, Thomas Harrington, 1889-1970. Thomas Harrington McKittrick Papers, 1924-1946 (inclusive): A Finding Aid
Baker Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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