I saw the notice of Francis McAdoo ’38’s passing in the May issue of the magazine (From the Editor) and thought you might be interested in the following braided Princeton history. My name is William Silber. I received a Ph.D. (economics) in 1966 and former Princeton provost Steve Goldfeld was my thesis adviser. I wrote a book, When Washington Shut Down Wall Street, published in 2007 by Princeton University Press, which traces Treasury Secretary William G. McAdoo’s triumph over a monetary crisis at the outbreak of World War I that threatened the United States with financial disaster.
The book was favorably received, including a comment from Nobel laureate Milton Friedman (“This book addresses an important issue that deserves wide readership. It is lucid and clear and deals with some very important episodes in American history”). But my favorite commentary came from an unsolicited letter in 2008 from Francis H. McAdoo Jr., William McAdoo’s grandson, which I have attached. PAW favorably reviewed my biography of former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker ’49 in 2013, but I thought this letter from Francis McAdoo, and the generational Princeton connections, might be of human interest today.