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Photo of Charles J. Rhoads

Charles J. Rhoads

  • Governor, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, 1914–1918
  • Born: October 4, 1872
  • Died: October 6, 1956

Charles J. Rhoads served as the first governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

Rhodes was born in 1872 into an old Quaker family. He grew up in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and attended William Penn Charter School and Haverford College. After earning a bachelor’s degree, he entered the banking field as a clerk at Girard Trust Co. He quickly rose through the ranks at the firm, becoming treasurer in 1900, at the age of 28, and vice president four years later.

In August 1914, Rhoads joined the Philadelphia Fed as a Class A director, and two months later he was elected the Bank’s first governor, the position now known as president. In this role, he helped establish the Philadelphia Fed’s reputation as a provider of valuable services for commercial banks throughout the region. By the end of his tenure, the Reserve Bank was serving 600 commercial banks and processing $37.5 million in checks daily.

Rhoads, deeply rooted in the Quaker tradition of service, resigned as governor in February 1918 to spearhead war relief and reconstruction efforts in France for the Society of Friend’s Bureau of the American Red Cross. After returning to the US, President Herbert Hoover selected him in 1929 to serve as commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a government agency responsible for the administration and management of 55 million surface acres and 57 million acres of subsurface minerals estates held in trust by the United States for American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives.

Rhoads was active in business and academic circles throughout his life. For 36 years, he served as a member of the boards of Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co. and the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society. He was elected as a member of the trustees of Bryn Mawr College in 1907 and in 1936 he became president of the trustees and chairman of the board of directors. He held both of those offices until his death in 1956.

Written by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. See disclaimer.