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HUMPHREY, GEORGE MAGOFFIN

HUMPHREY, GEORGE MAGOFFIN

HUMPHREY, GEORGE MAGOFFIN (8 Mar. 1890-20 Jan. 1970), lawyer, industrialist, president of the M. A. HANNA CO., and secretary of the treasury (1953-57), was born in Cheboygan, Mich., to Watts Sherman and Caroline Magoffin Humphrey. He received his LL.B degree from the University of Michigan in 1912, and practiced law in Michigan, becoming a partner in his father's law firm. Attracted to corporate law, Humphrey was hired by the M. A. Hanna Co. in Cleveland as general counsel in 1918. He became a partner in 1920, in charge of iron-ore properties and operations. When Hanna incorporated in 1922, he became vice-president, and from 1929-52 was president, bringing the company to profitability after a $2 million deficit. After WORLD WAR II, Humphrey was chosen to lead the Reparations Survey Committee advising the Allies on dismantling German industry. President Dwight Eisenhower designated Humphrey his secretary of the treasury, the cabinet's strongest voice of fiscal conservatism who spearheaded the administration's campaign to cut the federal budget in an effort to pare down the size of government, cut inflation, and stimulate private enterprise. He resigned in 1957, returning to private life in Cleveland and resuming chairmanships in several of the companies he had previously been associated with. His philanthropic interests were in the medical field. In 1913 he married Pamela Stark, and had 3 children, Pamela (Mrs. Royal Firman, Jr.), Gilbert Watts, and Caroline (Mrs. John G. Butler). Humphrey died in Cleveland.


George M. Humphrey Papers, WRHS.

Howard, Nathaniel R., ed. The Basic Papers of George M. Humphrey as Secretary of the Treasury, 1953-1957 (1965).