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Joseph Walker Barr


Born in Vincennes, Indiana. Graduate of DePauw University in 1939 with M.A. from Harvard in 1941. LL.D. from Vincennes University in 1966 and DePauw in 1967. Married to Beth Ann Williston September 3, 1939. They have a son and four daughters.

Served in the United States Navy May 1942 to October 1945. He was awarded the Bronze Star for service at Anzio. At the time of discharge he held the rank of lieutenant commander.

Employed in the family business in farm management and real estate. Elected to the House of Representatives and served January 3, 1959, to January 20, 1961. From 1961 to 1964 he was Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury. From 1964 to 1965 he was Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Barr served as Under Secretary of the Treasury from April 29, 1965, to December 23, 1968. President Johnson appointed Barr as Secretary of the Treasury. He served December 23, 1968, to noon January 20, 1969. His signature appears on Federal Reserve Notes, series of 1963-B.

Barr's term in office was short. (27 1/2 days) Currency collectors speculated that the Barr signature on notes would be a rare item. As the result of this speculation, the notes were hoarded and command no premium.

Following his term in office he became President of the American Security & Trust Co. from 1969 to 1972 and their Chairman of the Board 1972 to 1974. He served on the boards for several corporations. He was a partner in J & J Company after 1976. Chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta 1977 to 1981.

Barr appears on a mint medal (USM 222) as one of the series for Secretaries of the Treasury. The obverse die was by Frank Gasparro and reverse die by Edgar Z. Steever.

He died of a heart attack while in vacation in Mexico.

bio: BDC; BDEB; CBY 1968; Failor; IntWW 92-93; WWA 94; WWF&I 83

obit: CW 3/18/96

Source credit: Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies


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