Arthur B. Shelton, secretary to Sen. Nelson Aldrich and to the National Monetary Commission, was born about 1874 in Washington, DC, to Charles and Emma Shelton.
Little is known about Shelton’s early life or career. In 1899, according to Census records, he married Ann Latimer. They had a son who was stillborn in 1900, and in 1905 they had another son, Charles, who survived until old age.
By 1897, Shelton had become clerk of the Senate Finance Committee, of which Aldrich became chair in 1898. Sometime before 1901, Shelton also began working as Aldrich’s private secretary. That is the year he is first mentioned in Nathaniel Wright Stephenson’s biography of Aldrich, although it appears he had already been employed by the senator for some time.
In 1908, Congress passed the Aldrich-Vreeland Act, which among other things created the National Monetary Commission to study reforms to the nation’s banking and finance systems. Aldrich chaired the commission and Shelton served as its secretary, supporting the commission during more than two years of intense research.
In 1910, Shelton was appointed clerk of a new customs appeals court that Congress created as part of the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act of 1909. Later that year, Shelton attended the secret meeting on Jekyll Island that led to the drafting of the Aldrich plan for a US central bank. Many elements of the Aldrich plan were included in the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.
Shelton died in 1954 and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington, DC.