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Photo of Laurence F. Whittemore

Laurence F. Whittemore

  • President, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 1946–1948
  • Born: June 8, 1894
  • Died: August 11, 1960

Laurence F. Whittemore was the seventh president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. He served from March 1946 to October 1948.

Whittemore was born in 1894, in Pembroke, New Hamphire, where he would later serve as town moderator for twenty-five years. After attending Pembroke Academy, he was employed by the Boston and Maine Railroad as a car shop laborer, eventually becoming assistant to the president. He left Boston and Maine Railroad in 1917 to become municipal accountant and assistant to the New Hampshire State Tax Commission. In 1929, he returned to Boston and Maine Railroad and then began working for Maine Central Railroad.

In 1944, Whittemore began his affiliation with the Boston Fed as a director. Two years later, he was elected president of the Bank.  According to a 1948 Time magazine article, Whittemore "woke things up at the church-quiet Federal Reserve Bank by providing piped-in music." He was known for his legendary dry wit and inexhaustible supply of anecdotes.

Whittemore spent less than three years as the Boston Fed's president, resigning in 1948 to become president of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad. He then took over the Brown Company, a paper and pulp manufacturer in New Hampshire.

In the 1950s, President Eisenhower selected Whittemore as special envoy to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade as well as the President’s Commission for Education. Education was a particular interest of Whittemore’s, and he served as a trustee for several schools and colleges including the University of New Hampshire. As a great booster of the New England region, he also served as secretary of the New England Council. 

Whittemore died in 1960, in Concord, New Hampshire. He was eulogized by the state's governor as "Mr. New England."  He married Evelyn Fulford and had three children.

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