Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: Arch GA 9.75

Andrew F. Brimmer papers


The collection documents the career and research of Andrew F. Brimmer, Harvard Business School professor and first African-American appointed to serve as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.


  • 1944-2014


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. HBS Archives collections require a secondary registration form, please contact for more information.

Restricted material has been identified and separated. Note that box and folder lists of restricted material have been redacted.
Digital use copies of born-digital content can be accessed only onsite in the de Gaspé Beaubien Reading Room on a designated Special Collections computer. Researchers are not permitted to copy or download any digital files. To request access please contact prior to visiting the library.
Audiovisual materials have been digitized. Due to fragility of these materials and the difficulty with play back, researchers must work with digital copies rather than with the original recordings. Digital use copies for items that were digitized can be accessed only onsite in the de Gaspé Beaubien Reading Room. To request access please contact prior to visiting the library.


275 linear feet (528 boxes)
17.3 Gigabytes (91 digitized audio files, 1 digitized video file, and 2,401 digital files from 2 hard drives, 21 floppy disks, and 5 optical discs)
The materials in this collection document the career and research of Andrew F. Brimmer in the academic, private, and government sectors, and is arranged into series that reflect and document the phases of Brimmer’s life, beginning as an academic, his transition to a professional economist serving in the United States Government, and finally as an economic consultant. Brimmer's professional research included international monetary policy, capital markets, central banking, and economic issues in the African-American community. There are 10 series in the collection: General files and correspondence; Teaching and research; Federal government work; Harvard Business School; Brimmer & Company; Speaking engagements; Writings; Personal and biographical; Born digital content; and Harvard University Administration.

The materials include subject files, correspondence, research files, teaching records and files, writings, speeches, presentations, rough drafts, newspaper clippings, photographs, digital content from floppy disks and hard drives, and audiovisual material including footage of President Lyndon Johnson swearing Brimmer in as a Federal Reserve Governor.

Biographical Note:

Andrew F. Brimmer was a prominent economist and educator, with an expertise in international monetary policy. He was born in Newellton, Louisiana on September 13, 1926. After graduating from high school, Brimmer joined the United States Army, serving mostly in Hawaii at the rank of staff sergeant. Through the GI Bill, Brimmer attended the University of Washington earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1950 and a Master of Arts in 1951, both in economics. He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study economics at the Delhi School of Economics at Delhi University and at the University of Bombay in India from 1951-1952. Upon his return to the United States in 1952, Brimmer enrolled in the Ph.D. program in economics at Harvard University. While studying at Harvard, he served as a research assistant on the India Project at the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, investigating the economic development of industrializing countries. Brimmer also served a teaching fellow in the economics department at Harvard with a concentration in the macroeconomics and international trade fields. He was awarded his Ph.D. in 1957.

He began his public service career in 1950 as a summer intern at the U.S. Foreign Aid Agency in Washington DC under supervisor Philip S. Brown. He later served as an economist in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 1955-1958. Brimmer's teaching career began in 1958 as Assistant Professor of Economics and Finance at Michigan State University where he stayed for three years before joining the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania as an Assistant Professor of Finance in 1961.

In 1963, Brimmer was appointed by President John F. Kennedy Deputy Assistant and Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce where he served for three years before he was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as the first African-American member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Leaving the public sector in 1974, Brimmer briefly returned to academia when he was appointed the Thomas Henry Carroll Ford Foundation Visiting Professor at Harvard Business School (HBS) where he taught finance and capital markets from August 1974 to June 1976.

In 1976, he resigned as a professor at HBS to found the Washington D.C. based economic and financial consulting firm, Brimmer & Company. Brimmer had extensive academic and political contacts through his years of service and sought to leverage those relationships. He provided consulting services to private businesses, government agencies, and municipalities with an emphasis on Federal Reserve monetary policy.

Andrew F. Brimmer served on the board of directors of some of the largest and most influential companies in America including DuPont, the Ford Foundation, Equitable Life Assurance Company, United Airlines, Bank of America, BlackRock Inc., International Harvester, Navistar and Gannett Co. Dr. Brimmer was also a member of many non-profit boards including, the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life & History, Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, Tuskegee University, and the Harvard Board of Overseers, among others. Brimmer served as Principal Policy Advisor to the Ministry of Finance of the Government of Bermuda from 1999-2012. He also was a member of many economic and financial professional organizations.

Andrew Brimmer served two more times in a public sector role for the Government as a member of the Commission on Fair Market Value Policy for Federal Coal Leasing in 1983 and subsequently was appointed by President Bill Clinton as Chairman of the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority, in which he served from 1995 to 1998. His final academic appointment was in 1997 as the Wilmer D. Barrett Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Brimmer retired from the university in 2008.

Brimmer wrote and published more than one hundred journal articles and authored ten books on topics ranging from general economics, monetary theory, central banking, international finance, life insurance in capital markets, and international banking. Throughout his distinguished career, he received 26 honorary degrees including Honorary Doctor of Laws from Harvard and Tuskegee.

Andrew F. Brimmer died on October 7, 2012.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Obsolete file formats may not open or render properly in standard software. File extensions may not be recognized by modern operating systems. Specialized rendering software will be made available for patron use in the de Gaspé Beaubien Reading Room. A file list with technical metadata of all files open for research is linked to the description of digital content in the inventory below.

Physical Location



The Andrew F. Brimmer papers were received by Baker Library Special Collections as a gift from Doris M.S. Brimmer in 2016 (M-16-004).

Processing Information

Processed: January 2018

By: Benjamin Johnson
Digital content on physical media has been extracted when possible. Files were surveyed, screened for privacy and confidentiality concerns, and transferred to preservation storage.
Link to catalog
Brimmer, Andrew F. Andrew F. Brimmer Papers, 1944-2014: A Finding Aid
Baker Library
January 2018
Description rules
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.

Baker Library | Bloomberg Center
Soldiers Field Road
Boston MA 01263 USA
(617) 495-6411