Ogden L. Mills was secretary of the Treasury from February 12, 1932, until March 5, 1933. Under the provisions of the original Federal Reserve Act, the Treasury secretary was ex-officio chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.
Mills was born in 1884 in Newport, Rhode Island. He graduated from Harvard University in 1904 and Harvard Law School in 1907. Mills became active in Republican Party politics in New York and was a delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1912, 1916, and 1920. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1912 but won election to the New York state senate in 1914. He resigned in 1917 to enlist in the US Army. During World War I, he served as a captain.
In 1921, Mills won election to Congress and remained in the US House of Representatives for three terms. In 1926, he ran on the Republican ticket for governor of New York but was defeated by incumbent Democrat Al Smith. In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge appointed him undersecretary of the Treasury, where he served under Andrew Mellon.
Toward the end of his term, Secretary Mellon spent much of his time overseas, and President Hoover grew to rely greatly on Mills, who served as acting secretary during Mellon's absences. Mills became Treasury secretary when Mellon resigned in February 1932. Mills continued the policies of his predecessor, recommending a drastic reduction in government spending and a tax increase in order to balance the budget by 1934. Mills resigned at the end of President Hoover's term in 1933.
After his time at the Treasury, Mills authored three books: What of Tomorrow? (1935), Liberalism Fights On (1936), and The Seventeen Million (1937). He was a member of the board of directors for several companies, including Lackawanna Steel Company; Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway; Mergenthaler Linotype Company; and Shredded Wheat Company.
Mills died in New York City in 1937.
Written by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. See disclaimer.