Merwin K. Hart papers , 1929-1962

Overview of the Collection

Hart, Merwin Kimball, 1881-1962
Merwin K. Hart papers
1929-1962 (inclusive)
8.5 linear feet, (9 containers)
Collection Number
Coll 121
Merwin K. Hart (1881-1962) was a lawyer and political figure who founded the New York State Economic Council. The collection contains records from the National Economic Council.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Additional Reference Guides

Paper finding aid with additional information available in Special Collections & University Archives.

See the Current Collection Guide for detailed description and requesting options.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Merwin K. Hart was born in 1881 in Utica, New York and educated at Harvard University from which he was graduated in 1904. He read law and was admitted to the New York bar in 1911. In 1914, he formed the Utica Mutual Workmen's Compensation Insurance Company, later the Utica Mutual Insurance Company.

After service in World War I, Hart became increasingly concerned about the problems of government spending and taxation. With James W. Gerard, Hart planned and held the New York State-wide Economic Congress in April, 1929 in order to discuss and search for solutions to those problems. The 1929 economic congress appointed the Committee of Twenty-Five that reorganized in 1931 as the New York State Economic Council with Hart as its president. It was dedicated to the twin goals of lowering taxes and reducing government spending. In 1943, the name was changed to the National Economic Council and actively promoted conservativism in politics and economics.

Although Hart and Franklin Roosevelt were Harvard schoolmates and acquaintances, the two were often great distances apart. Hart, in spite of his service on the Governor's Budget Advisory Commission under Roosevelt, worked in opposition to Roosevelt and his programs.

Hart was also a member of Robert Welch's John Birch Society and served as the head of the New York City Branch until his death in 1962.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Merwin K. Hart Papers consist almost entirely of records of the National Economic Council, its predecessor, the New York State Economic Council, and the spinoff organizations such as the Committee for the Revival of Private Enterprise of which Hart was also the head. The records include information on meetings, publications, addresses, correspondence, statements to Congressional committees, position papers, internal committee files, and reports of Hart's European trips. Of special interest are the files the House Select Committee on Lobbying Activities (the Buchanan Committee) which investigated the National Economic Council in 1950.

The files also include records of the Educational Advisory Committee, which prepared reports on the school systems of Little Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, New York, as well as reports on social science textbooks (particularly those by Harold Rugg) and on an economics textbook written by Lorie Tarshis.

Major correspondents include Flamen Ball, John B. Bently, William F. Buckley, Jr., Martin Dies, Frank E. Gannett, James H. Gipson, Robert LeFevre, Manuel Maestro, Benjamin Minifie, J. Earl Schaefer, Samuel M. Shoemaker, Robert A. Taft, J. Howard Pew, A. K. Chesterton, George W. Robnett, and Gerald L. K. Smith.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Communism in education
  • Conservatism--Economic aspects
  • Conservatism--United States
  • Economic councils

Personal Names

  • Ball, Flamen
  • Bently, John B.
  • Chesterton, A. K. (Arthur Kenneth)
  • Dies, Martin, 1900-1972
  • Gannett, Frank E. (Frank Ernest), 1876-1957
  • Gipson, James H.
  • Goethe, C. M. (Charles Matthias), 1875-1966
  • LeFevre, Robert, 1911-
  • Maestro, Manuel
  • Pew, J. Howard (John Howard), 1882-1971
  • Robnett, George W. (George Washington), 1890-1970
  • Schaefer, J. Earl
  • Shoemaker, Samuel M. (Samuel Moor), 1893-1963
  • Taft, Robert A. (Robert Alphonso), 1889-1953

Corporate Names

  • John Birch Society
  • National Economic Council (U.S.)
  • United States. Congress. House. Select Committee on Lobbying Activities