Joseph W. Barr

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Joseph Barr
59th United States Secretary of the Treasury
In office
December 21, 1968 – January 20, 1969
PresidentLyndon B. Johnson
Preceded byHenry H. Fowler
Succeeded byDavid M. Kennedy
Chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
In office
January 22, 1964 – April 21, 1965
Preceded byJames J. Saxon
Succeeded byKenneth A. Randall
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 11th district
In office
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1961
Preceded byCharles B. Brownson
Succeeded byDonald C. Bruce
Personal details
Joseph Walker Barr

(1918-01-17)January 17, 1918
Bicknell, Indiana, U.S.
DiedFebruary 23, 1996(1996-02-23) (aged 78)
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseBeth Williston
EducationDePauw University (BA)
Harvard University (MA)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1942–1945
Battles/warsWorld War II

Joseph Walker Barr (January 17, 1918 – February 23, 1996) was an American businessman and politician from Indiana. He served one term in the United States House of Representatives. He was also the United States Secretary of the Treasury from December 21, 1968 until January 20, 1969, in President Lyndon B. Johnson's cabinet. He was a member of the Democratic Party.

Early life and career

Barr was born in Vincennes, Indiana, on January 17, 1918, the son of Oscar Lynn Barr and Stella Florence Walker. He graduated from DePauw University, and married the former Beth Ann Williston in Indianapolis on September 3, 1939; they had five children: Bonnie Barr Gilliom, Cherry Ann Barr, Joseph Williston Barr, Elizabeth Eugenia Barr LoSasso and Lynn Hamilton Barr Fineberg. He was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and earned a master's degree in economics from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1941.[2]

He served in the United States Navy from 1942 to 1945, during World War II, with subchaser duty in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. He received a Bronze Star for sinking a submarine off Anzio Beach.[2]

After Barr returned from the war, he engaged in the operation of grain elevators, theaters, real estate and publishing businesses.

Political career

In 1958, he defeated Charles B. Brownson for a seat in Congress from Indiana's 11th congressional district, a Republican stronghold. He was aided by Democratic gains that increased the party's majority from 35 to 129 seats.[3] During his time in the House, he became friends with then-Senator John F. Kennedy.[4] He served only one term before being defeated for re-election in 1960.[2]

After his electoral defeat, President Kennedy appointed him as the Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury for Congressional Relations.[5] In 1963, he was appointed Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.[2] Barr served as the Undersecretary of the Treasury from 1965 to 1968, during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. When Henry H. Fowler resigned in December 1968, Johnson named Barr as the Secretary of the Treasury with a recess appointment, effective for the remainder of Johnson's term in office.[6] His 28 days in the position was the shortest term of any Treasury Secretary. Given his short period in office, his signature appears only on the one-dollar bill.[7][8]

Later years

After leaving office, he was named as the vice chairman of American Security and Trust Company.[9] He then served as the president and the chairman from 1969 to 1974 and the chairman of Federal Home Loan Bank in Atlanta, Georgia from 1977 to 1981.[2]

Barr died of a heart attack in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and was interred in Leeds Episcopal Church Cemetery in Hume, Virginia.[2]


  1. ^ "Joseph Walker Barr." Marquis Who's Who TM. Marquis Who's Who, 2006. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. Document Number: K2014405121.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Joseph Barr, 78, Bank Executive Who Held Several Federal Posts". New York Times. 1996-02-29.
  3. ^ New York Times. 1958-11-06 [Democrats' Edge Tripled in House Democrats' Edge Tripled in House]. {{cite news}}: Check |url= value (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Katz, Bernard; Vencill, C. Daniel (1996). Biographical Dictionary of the United States Secretaries of the Treasury. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9780313280122.
  5. ^ "3 Treasury Aides Sworn". New York Times. 1961-02-01.
  6. ^ "Barr Named Treasury Secretary". New York Times. 1968-12-24.
  7. ^ "Shortest Stays in the White House". Saturday Evening Post. 2017-08-01.
  8. ^ "New Names Appearing on Currency". New York Times. 1969-04-13.
  9. ^ "Barr to Join Bank Board". New York Times. 1969-01-17.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 11th congressional district

January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1961
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
Served under: Lyndon B. Johnson

December 21, 1968 – January 20, 1969
Succeeded by