Logo: 100 Years, Federal Reserve System
 
Headshot of Paul Warburg

Born:

08/10/1868

Deceased:

01/24/1932

Term:

Vice Governor (Board)
1916 to 1918

Preceded By: Frederic A. Delano

Succeeded By: Albert Strauss


Member (Board)
1914 to 1916

Affiliated With:

Board of Governors

Paul M. Warburg

Vice Governor (Board)
1916 - 1918

Paul M. Warburg was sworn in as a member of the first Federal Reserve Board on August 10, 1914. He was appointed vice chairman (called “vice governor” before 1935) on August 10, 1916. He resigned from the Board on August 9, 1918.
 
Warburg was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1868. He graduated from high school in Hamburg in 1886 and began working for an exporting firm there. He then moved on to positions at shipping and banking companies in London and Paris. He returned to Hamburg in 1895 and became a partner in the banking firm M.M. Warburg and Company, founded by his great grandfather.
 
Warburg was a partner in the family firm until 1907. However, in 1902, he moved to New York City and joined his father-in-law’s company as a partner overseeing international loans to several governments. In 1911, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
 
Warburg was considered one of the top authorities on central banking both in Europe and the United States. He was active in the monetary reform movement taking place in the United States in the early 1900s and advocated for the establishment of a U.S. central bank. He and several other bankers helped draft the Aldrich bill of 1910. Although the bill was never brought before Congress, many of its provisions were added to the 1913 Federal Reserve Act, which created the Federal Reserve System. President Woodrow Wilson appointed Warburg to the new entity’s first Board in 1914.
 
Although Warburg left the Federal Reserve Board in 1918, he continued to serve the Federal Reserve as a member of the Federal Advisory Council (1921–26). He resumed his activities in business and philanthropic circles as well. For example, he founded and was the first chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Acceptance Council in 1919. In 1921, he organized the International Acceptance Bank to promote U.S. government financing of reconstruction in Europe following the war.
 
Warburg was also a director of the Council on Foreign Relations (1921–32), a trustee of the Institute of Economics (1922–27), and a trustee of the Brookings Institution after it merged with the Institute of Economics in 1927. He also helped establish the Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation in 1930. He served at various times as a director of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Union Pacific Railroad, and Western Union Telegraph Company. Warburg was also a director of the Julliard School of Music and a trustee of Tuskegee College.
 
Warburg continued to take an active interest in the nation’s monetary affairs and banking system. In March 1929, he warned that the wild stock speculation resulting from stock price increases and improper bank lending practices would have disastrous results if left unchecked. On October 29 of that year, the stock market crashed.
 
Throughout his career, Warburg was a prolific writer. Most notable among his published works was a two-volume set on the Federal Reserve System published in 1930. The Yale University Library (Manuscripts and Archives) is the repository for Warburg’s papers dating from 1904 to 1932. The collection includes 169 volumes on banking and finance. 
 
Warburg died at his home in New York in 1932. At the time of his death, he was chairman of the Manhattan Company and a director of the Bank of Manhattan Trust Company, Farmers Loan and Trust Company of New York, and First National Bank of Boston. 
 
Written by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. See disclaimer.