Watrous Henry Irons served as the seventh president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from February 15, 1954, to February 1, 1968.
Irons was born in 1903 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was educated at public schools in Georgia, New York, and Massachusetts. He attended the University of Georgia before receiving his bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State College in 1925, and his master’s degree in 1933 and doctorate in 1937, both from the University of Pennsylvania. His areas of study were economics, finance, and statistics.
From 1937 through 1945, he was a professor of banking and finance at the University of Texas at Austin and, while on leave from the university during World War II, served as regional price economist for the Office of Price Administration (OPA) in Dallas from 1942 to 1944. At the OPA, he was responsible for economic analysis, and later price analysis, determination, and adjustment within the six-state jurisdiction of the Dallas regional office.
On July 1, 1945, Irons joined the Dallas Fed as director of research and was named vice president in April 1946. He also served as an associate economist for the Federal Open Market Committee.
During his tenure as president, Irons carried out activities in areas of banking and credit policy and research and statistics. With the automation of check processing, the Dallas Fed expanded its financial services, economic research efforts, and public activities during Irons’ presidency.
Irons also served as a lecturer at the banking schools at Louisiana State University, University of Wisconsin, and Southern Methodist University. He was a member of the Dallas Citizens Council, American Economic Association, Southwestern Social Science Association, and American Finance Association.
In 1965, Irons was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from New Mexico State University.
Irons died in Dallas in 1968.
Written by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. See disclaimer.