AYRES, LEONARD PORTER (15 September 1879-29 October 1946), a nationally known educator, economist, and statistician, served as Vice President and Chief Economist of the Cleveland Trust bank for 26 years. Born in Niantic, Connecticut, to Milan Church and Georgiana (Gall) Ayres, Leonard was educated in the public schools of Newton, Massachusetts. After graduating from Boston University in 1902, he taught English in Puerto Rico, becoming superintendent of the island's school system in 1906. Returning to the States in 1907, Ayres earned a Ph.D. degree from Boston University in 1910. He was appointed director of the Department of Education and Statistics at the Russell Sage Foundation in 1908 where he applied statistical methods to a number of educational studies including the Education Survey of the Cleveland School System conducted under the auspices of the CLEVELAND FOUNDATION from 1915 until 1917. During WORLD WAR I, Lieutenant Colonel Ayres organized the Division of Statistics for the military.
Ayres joined the Cleveland Trust Company (see AMERITRUST) in 1920 where he edited the bank's "Business Bulletin." While there, he acquired a national reputation for his economic opinions and predictions through his writings. In his book, The Economics of Recovery, published in 1933, Ayres correctly assessed the severity of the Depression compared with past U.S. economic downturns. Reports in his Cleveland years included "The Automobile and its Future" (1921) and "Business in Two War Periods" (1945). During his career, he published seven books, numerous articles and reports.
Ayres returned to active military service as a brigadier general from 1940 until 1942. He died in Cleveland of a heart attack in 1946 and was buried in the National Cemetery at Arlington.