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Photo of Eliot J. Swan

Eliot J. Swan

  • President, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, 1961–1972
  • Born: September 6, 1911
  • Died: January 3, 1998

Eliot J. Swan served as the eighth president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco from March 1, 1961, until his retirement on May 31, 1972.

Born in Minneapolis in 1911, Swan's family moved to California in 1921. He graduated from Riverside City College, then attended the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1932. He remained there until 1941, first as a graduate student and teaching assistant, and then as an economics instructor. In commemoration of his association with the University, the Eliot J. Swan Prize was established for best performance in the first year of the doctoral program in economics. The award includes a cash component to recognize the discipline and dedication of this achievement.

Swan joined the San Francisco Fed on May 19, 1941, as a research assistant. He became head of the Research department in 1943 and assistant vice president of Research in 1950. During the first six months of 1952, he took a temporary assignment at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C., serving as assistant director of the Division of Selective Credit Regulation. He returned to the San Francisco Fed, and in 1954 was appointed vice president, and then vice president and cashier later that year. He accepted the first vice president position in 1956 and became the San Francisco Fed’s president in 1961.

In addition to the Federal Open Market Committee, Swan served on other committees as president, including the System Steering Committee on Improving the Payments Mechanism. As an ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees and the Investment Committee of the Retirement System, he worked on a comprehensive study of the retirement plan.

Outside of the Federal Reserve, Swan participated on a number of community boards. He was chairman of the board of trustees of the Arlington Community Church, chairman of the Arlington Community Center Council, and president of the Kensington Improvement Club. An avid lawn bowler, he served as treasurer of the Pacific Inter-Mountain Division of the American Lawn Bowling Association.

Swan and his family resided in Kensington, California. He died in 1998.

Written by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. See disclaimer.