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Photo of David P. Eastburn

David P. Eastburn

  • President, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, 1970–1981
  • Born: October 6, 1921
  • Died: October 11, 2005

David P. Eastburn, whose career in central banking spanned nearly forty years, served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia from 1970 to 1981.

Born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, in 1921, the amateur oboist earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Amherst College in 1942 before switching gears to concentrate on economics. He received a master’s degree in 1945 and a doctorate in 1957 from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Eastburn began his professional career at the Philadelphia Fed in 1942, working first as a clerk in the research department then later as an economist. He rose steadily up the ranks at the Reserve Bank, holding a number of positions throughout the years, including a temporary position with the Board of Governors from 1950-1951 in which he administered Federal Reserve regulations regarding selective credit controls that were imposed during the Korean War.

In 1970, Eastburn was named president of the Philadelphia Fed. During his time in the position, he served on the Federal Open Market Committee in Washington, D.C., and, in 1975, was chairman of the Conference of Presidents of the Federal Reserve Banks. He retired as head of the Philadelphia Fed in 1981.

Throughout his life, Eastburn maintained a passion for music, and was often referred to by those who knew him as "a musician who happened to be a central banker." In 1976 he became a member of the board of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, and he served as its president from 1978 to 1985. He was chairman of the orchestra from 1985 to 1988.

After retiring from the Bank he also served on several corporate boards, including that of Vanguard Group.

Eastburn died in 2005.

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