Council of Economic Advisers: Chairman, 1985-1989
This collection is available in whole for research use. In accordance with the Deed of Gift, some items may have been withdrawn from the folders. Most frequently withdrawn material is national security classified material, personal privacy, protection of the President, etc.
Beryl Wayne Sprinkel (1923-2009) was born on a tobacco farm near Richmond, Missouri. During World War II, he was a member of an Army armored division that helped stop the German offensive near Celles, Belgium in the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, he enrolled at the University of Missouri, planning to major in music and become a band director. After taking a class from a persuasive economics professor, he switched to economics and received his bachelor’s degree in 1947. He received a master’s degree in business administration in 1948 and a doctorate in 1952, both from the University of Chicago. Before his move to Washington D.C., Dr. Sprinkel taught at the University of Missouri and at Chicago before working for the Harris Trust in Chicago from 1952-1981. During this time he wrote books including Money and Stock Prices (1964) and Money and Market: A Monetarist View (1971).
Dr. Sprinkel was vice president and economic advisor at the Harris Trust and Savings Bank in Chicago when President Reagan appointed him undersecretary of the Treasury for monetary affairs in 1981. There he was one of President Reagan’s principal negotiators on issues like Third World debt and the financing of the International Monetary Fund and other international lending agencies. He also played a role in encouraging the Japanese to open their capital markets to American investment. In 1985, Dr. Sprinkel was named chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. As a monetarist, he believed that excessive growth of the nation’s money supply was the primary cause of inflation and the expansion of the money supply ought to equal the growth of the overall economy. His views often put him at odds with the administration’s advocates of supply-side economics. In 1987, he was a contender to succeed Paul Volcker as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, but the job went instead to Alan Greenspan. Afterwards, Dr. Sprinkel announced his resignation as council chairman but Reagan rejected it in the wake of the stock market crash; Reagan instead elevated Sprinkel to Cabinet-level status. As Reagan’s administration came to an end, Dr. Sprinkel defended the administration’s economic record, saying that he was “rather pleased with the result” of the decline in inflation, the increased number of jobs and the lower unemployment rates.
After stepping down from the Council of Economic Advisers in 1989, Dr. Sprinkel returned to Chicago where he served as a consultant on a number of boards. He died August 22, 2009 at a nursing home in Beecher, Illinois; he had Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome, a rare neuromuscular disease. He is survived by his third wife, Lory Reed Sprinkel, one son, two stepchildren, and 10 grandchildren.
The collection consists of papers and scrapbooks from Dr. Sprinkel’s time during Ronald Reagan’s presi