Collection ID: MS 421

Collection context


Rogers, James Harvey, 1886-1939
The papers include correspondence, manuscripts, research notes, newspaper clippings, and teaching materials which document the career of James Harvey Rogers. The correspondence documents Rogers's academic appointments, research, participation in formulating economic policies for the New Deal, his post as American representative to the Economic Committee of the League of Nations, and his trip to China, Japan, and India in 1934 as a representative of the U.S. Treasury to study the silver situation. Rogers's academic life is represented by extensive notes taken during his graduate studies at Yale University (1912-1916), correspondence with members of the Economics Department (1930-1939), examinations, student papers, and material relating to Pierson College, of which he was a fellow. Rogers's research material includes offprints, clippings, press releases, and other materials on international trade, war debts, foreign investments, European economic problems, monetary reform, and the Depression. Personal papers include a small quantity of family correspondence and diaries of trips to Europe.
31.25 Linear Feet


Acquisition information:
Gift of the estate of James H. Rogers, 1939 and 1942, and additional gifts of Byrd L. Jones and Hannah Shepperd, 1963.
Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Scope and Content:

The James Harvey Rogers Papers are composed of correspondence, manuscripts, research notes, newspaper clippings, teaching materials, and financial papers which document Rogers's career as a professor of economics at Cornell University, the University of Missouri, and Yale University, his participation as an economic advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt, and his service as American representative to the Economic Committee of the League of Nations. Though the papers date from 1904 to 1963, the bulk of the material dates from Rogers's return to Yale as Sterling Professor of Political Economy in 1931 until his death in 1939.

The papers, which were donated to the Yale Library in 1939 and 1942 by Rogers's estate and added to in 1963 by Byrd L. Jones and Hannah Rogers Shepperd, are arranged in five series: I. Correspondence, 1908-1939; II. Addresses, Essays, and Reviews, 1915-1939; III. Manuscripts and Special Projects, 1915-1963; IV. Teaching Files, 1904-1939; V. Topical Files, 1919-1940.

About one-third of the papers is correspondence (Series I), while the rest of the papers consists of equal quantities of Rogers's own manuscripts, articles, and lectures (Series II, III, IV, and V) and of his research files and topical files, which include the writings of others, reading notes, clippings, and memorabilia for studies in economics or special assignments on government service (Series III, IV, V).

Series I contains Rogers's incoming and outgoing letters. The correspondence is predominantly professional and dated from 1908 to 1939. Letters are arranged chronologically and are selectively indexed by personal name at the end of this register.

The correspondence prior to 1921 is only fragmentary. Letters in the first three folders contain selected significant items such as letters from Rogers's teachers Vilfredo Pareto and Irving Fisher, while folders 4 - 6 concern Rogers's military service in World War I, post-war service with the Red Cross, and employment following his return to the United States.

The correspondence of the 1920s reflects Rogers's teaching duties at Cornell and the University of Missouri, his research interests, and foreign travel. In correspondence with Pareto, Fisher, Wesley Clair Mitchell, and Carl Joachim Frederich, Rogers discussed economics topics, while correspondence with Edgar Furniss during this period contains discussions of departmental politics at Yale and Cornell. Letters from former student Paul Peltason concern Rogers's speculative investments. Rogers also maintained a correspondence with former students who were employed in banking and brokerage firms in order to find positions for other students. Businessmen also supplied him with statistical data and other observations on economic trends. Carl Snyder of the Federal Reserve Board in New York was an important contact in this regard. Rogers used such information from Samuel Streit in writing Stock Speculation and the Money Market, which was published in 1927. The series also contains correspondence with Frank Taussig on the publication of this study.

In 1926 Rogers began to study economic conditions in France. The correspondence includes numerous exchanges with French bankers and government officials, while correspondence with Robert M. Haig concerns Rogers's 1927 trip to France as part of a research project centered at Columbia University. Rogers used former students August Maffrey and Robert Landman as research assistants on the study, which was published as The Process of Inflation in France, 1914-1927, and their correspondence during the period 1927 to 1929 concerns this book. There are few personal letters to describe Rogers's travels, but the 1927 correspondence reflects his excitement in being one of the first people to greet Charles Lindbergh on his landing in Paris.

The 1929 March and April correspondence concerns Rogers's dismay over the dismissal of fellow faculty member Max Meyer by the administration of the University of Missouri. Rogers voiced his concern for academic freedom again a year later in resigning from the university to accept an appointment at Yale. Negotiations concerning this appointment are contained in 1929 correspondence with Furniss. Continuing correspondence with University of Missouri colleague Harry Gunnison Brown concerns conditions there as well as the study of economics and news of former students.

The correspondence of the early 1930s demonstrates the personal effect of the Depression on Rogers and on the nature of his work in economics. Numerous friends and former students write of their economic reversals. Some correspondence also relates to Rogers's own losses on stock speculation and concern over agricultural problems affecting his farm in Society Hill, South Carolina. Rogers participated in study committees composed of other academics and business people seeking solutions to the Depression, more accurate social and economic data, and the appropriate actions of government in the crisis. This interest is reflected in correspondence with Sumner H. Slichter, the Social Science Research Council, the Twentieth Century Fund, Nicholas Murray Butler, R.M. MacIver, Arthur D. Gayer, Adolf Berle, and George Soule. Measures recommended by Rogers in America Weighs Her Gold (1931) brought him national prominence, speaking engagements, a call for advice from the new Roosevelt administration, and numerous letters from amateur monetary reformers and cranks.

The series includes correspondence with Franklin Roosevelt, Henry Morgenthau Cordell Hull, Herbert Brattner, Marvin H. McIntyre, Henry A. Wallace, Daniel C. Roper, and Herbert Feis which reflects Rogers's New Deal activities. Since Rogers and George Warren shared an office in Washington in 1933 and 1934 and could accomplish their work in person or by phone, the correspondence is not a rich source for information on Rogers's work at this time. His mission to China, Japan, and India to study the silver situation is documented and material from 1934 April to November includes cables, letters of introduction, and reports from Robert Landman and Dickson H. Leavens who accompanied Rogers on the mission. The series also contains correspondence with Jacob Viner and P. Stoppani concerning Rogers's duties as the American representative to the Economic Committee of the League of Nations.

Following his return from the Orient Rogers spent less time in Washington, and correspondence reflects the turn of his attention back to the Yale Graduate School, Pierson College, routine academic matters, continuing consultation with colleagues, the publication of two books, and study trips to Latin America. The files from 1935 on contain several exchanges with graduate students and former students including Max Millikan, Eugene and Walt Rostow, and Roger Tubby. Correspondence with Lionel D. Edie and Edward Bernays concerns prospective writing projects and speaking engagements. With Arthur Gayer and Hans Cohrssen, Rogers worked to publish a festschrift in honor of Irving Fisher, while correspondence with European colleagues Robert Marjolin and Alfred Zimmern reflects their concern for the worsening economic situation abroad. The translation of Vilfredo Pareto's Tratto di Sociologia Generalë, a project in which Rogers participated for several years, finally appeared in 1935. Details of this project can be found in the long correspondence with Andrew Bongiorno. The series also contains letters of congratulation following the 1938 appearance of Rogers's last book Capitalism in Crisis. Correspondence with Robert Landman concerns travel arrangements for trips to Colombia, Europe, and Brazil.

Throughout the series there is correspondence with longtime personal friends and family, but these letters give little insight into Rogers's personal life. Rogers's mother Florence Coker Rogers, his brothers William and John Rogers, his sisters Florence (Mrs. T. Ellison Simpson) and Hannah (Mrs. Orlando Sheppard), and cousins David and Mary Coker all write of their lives in South Carolina, but there are few letters from Rogers to his family.

Series III includes most of Rogers's speeches and articles. The series is arranged chronologically and a folder on an individual speech or article may include notes, background material, handwritten outlines and drafts, typed copies, letters of transmittal, printed copies, and summaries in the form of press releases or clippings. The series includes early student papers, Rogers's Ph.D. dissertation (folders 356-357), lectures, papers presented to professional meetings, introductions and reviews for works of others, testimony before congressional hearings, memoranda of conversations, and articles for scholarly journals and the press. Folders 383-388 contain material for Rogers's chapter "Foreign Markets and Foreign Credit" in the 1929 Report on Recent Economic Changes for the President's Conference on Unemployment. The quantity of folders from 1931 on reflects the increased demand for Rogers to speak following the publication of America Weighs Her Gold and the interest in Rogers's statements as a spokesman on New Deal economic theory. Folder titles for this period often reflect the title of a press release or news clipping whose summaries or abstracts may be the only record Rogers retained of his addresses to civic and college groups. The series also includes addresses to the Economic Committee of the League of Nations.

Series III includes both the manuscripts for each of Rogers's five books and files of material either collected or generated by Rogers in connection with a special project or assignment. For each book the files contain typed drafts and some handwritten notes. The files for The Process of Inflation in France are more extensive and also include card files of research notes, background material, and printed reviews of the book.

Special projects or assignments documented in this series include Rogers's participation, with other economists, on the Butler Commission seeking solutions to the Depression; the Rogers Mission to China, Japan, and India to study the silver situation; and Rogers's service as an economic advisor to the Roosevelt administration and American representative to the Economic Committee of the League of Nations. Most of these files include background material, memoranda by others, reports, and clippings. Occasionally there are speeches, memoranda, or reports by Rogers.

Clippings files document the increase in Rogers's public prominence after 1931. Rogers's silver study in the Orient is the most thoroughly represented special assignment. The files include Rogers's diary from his trip as well as memoranda of conversations with political leaders and economists. Dickson H. Leavens's report of the investigation in India is in folder 793. Material on the Economic Committee of the League of Nations includes committee proceedings and reports from Jacob Viner as well as Rogers's speech material. The series also includes some personal memorabilia, travel diaries from various trips to Europe, and recollections of Rogers written by former students Lester Chandler, Edwin M. Jones, and George A. Boyd. There is also a section of research material not directly related to any assignment or project.

Series IV includes lecture notes, student papers, and other materials which relate to Rogers's academic training and teaching career. The series includes the earliest material in the papers; Rogers's essays and master's thesis from the University of South Carolina are in folders 853, 857b, and 858. Most of the student lecture notes date from Rogers's course work at Yale, but folder 856 contains three notebooks from lectures by Vilfredo Pareto at the University of Geneva. Rogers's teaching notes are in boxes 63 - 65 and are arranged by course title. The Student Papers section includes papers by Rogers's students at the University of Missouri and at Yale. The papers are arranged by topic; each folder may contain papers by several students. In these folders there are papers by some of Rogers's outstanding graduate students including Walt Rostow, Max Millikan, and Willy Feuerlein. The series also includes material relating to the Economics Department at Yale, including minutes of meetings and materials relating to degree requirements and curriculum.

Series V includes a variety of material types arranged by topic. The largest quantity of material is in the section Papers by Others and the related section, Research Material, which includes writings of others organized by topic, title, or author. Some of the authors are Rogers's colleagues and friends; some papers relate to areas of Rogers's special interest and were saved as research material; and some papers were submitted to Rogers by amateur economists with their solutions to contemporary monetary problems. The series includes other types of reference material in the forms of news analyses, press releases and summaries, and clippings; photographs from Rogers's travels abroad; and a published memorial tribute by Walt Rostow and Edgar Furniss. The series concludes with a section of Writings which includes outlines, drafts, and notes for prospective, but never published, works by James Harvey Rogers.

Biographical / Historical:

James Harvey Rogers studied economics with Vilfredo Pareto at the University of Geneva and received a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1916. He taught economics at Cornell University and the University of Missouri and was Sterling Professor of Political Economy at Yale from 1931 until his death in 1939. From 1933 to 1934 he was an advisor to the Roosevelt administration on fiscal policy. He also served as a special representative of the Treasury Department in the Far East (1934) and as the American member of the Economic Committee of the League of Nations (1933-1937).


Arranged in five series: I. Correspondence, 1908-1939. II. Addresses, Essays, and Reviews, 1915-1939. III. Manuscripts and Special Projects, 1915-1963. IV. Teaching Files, 1904-1939. V. Topical Files, 1919-1940.

Indexed Terms

Currency question
Depressions -- 1929
Economics -- Study and teaching
Gold standard
Inflation (Finance) -- France
United States. Department of the Treasury
Cornell University -- Faculty
League of Nations. Economic Committee
University of Missouri
Yale University -- Faculty
Yale University. Department of Economics
Pierson College (Yale University)
Berle, Adolf A., Jr., 1895-1971
Bernays, Edward L., 1891-1995
Bratter, Herbert M. (Herbert Max), 1900-1976
Brown, Harry Gunnison, 1880-1975
Butler, Nicholas Murray, 1862-1947
Cohrssen, Hans R. L.
Feis, Herbert, 1893-1972
Fisher, Irving, 1867-1947
Friedrich, Carl J. (Carl Joachim), 1901-1984
Furniss, Edgar S. (Edgar Stevenson), 1890-1972
Gayer, Arthur D. (Arthur David), 1903-1951
Hull, Cordell, 1871-1955
Johnson, Alvin Saunders, 1874-1971
Leavens, Dickson H.
McIntyre, Marvin Hunter, 1878-1943
Meyer, Max F. (Max Friedrich), 1873-1967
Mitchell, Wesley C. (Wesley Clair), 1874-1948
Morgenthau, Henry, 1891-1967
Pareto, Vilfredo, 1848-1923
Rogers, James Harvey, 1886-1939
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945
Roper, Daniel C. (Daniel Calhoun), 1867-1943
Rostow, Eugene V. (Eugene Victor), 1913-2002
Rostow, W. W. (Walt Whitman), 1916-2003
Slichter, Sumner H. (Sumner Huber), 1892-1959
Snyder, Carl, 1869-1946
Strait, Samuel, 1870-
Taussig, F. W. (Frank William), 1859-1940
Viner, Jacob, 1892-1970
Wallace, Henry A. (Henry Agard), 1888-1965
Warburg, James P. (James Paul), 1896-1969
Warren, George F. (George Frederick), 1874-1938
China -- Economic conditions -- 1912-1949
India -- Economic conditions -- 1918-1947
Japan -- Economic conditions -- 1918-1945
United States -- Politics and government -- 1933-1945


Sterling Memorial Library
Yale Campus
New Haven, CT, USA
(203) 432-1735