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Charles Sumner Hamlin (August 30, 1861 – April 24, 1938) was an American lawyer. He was the first Chairman of the Federal Reserve, serving from 1914 to 1916.[1]

Charles Hamlin
1st Chairman of the Federal Reserve
In office
August 10, 1914 – August 10, 1916
PresidentWoodrow Wilson
DeputyFrederic Delano
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byWilliam Harding
Personal details
Born(1861-08-30)August 30, 1861
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedApril 24, 1938(1938-04-24) (aged 76)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Huybertje Pruyn
(m. 1898; his death 1938)
EducationHarvard University (BA, MA)


Charles Sumner Hamlin was born in Boston, Massachusetts on August 30, 1861, a son of Anna and Edward Hamlin. His mother was born in England to Irish parents, while his father, a coal dealer, was from Massachusetts.[2]He graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor of arts degree in 1883 and received his master of arts from Harvard in 1886. Sumner studied law while completing his master's degree, attained admission to the bar in 1886, and practiced in Boston.

From 1893 to 1897 and again from 1913 to 1914 he was the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. He twice ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Massachusetts, in 1902 and 1910. On August 10, 1914, he was appointed the first Chairman of the Federal Reserve and served in that capacity until August 10, 1916. He lectured at Harvard on government in 1902 and 1903; In 1912 was vice president of the Woodrow Wilson College Men's League and president of the Woodrow Wilson League of Massachusetts; and he published, besides pamphlets on statistical and financial subjects, an Index Digest of Interstate Commerce Laws (1907) and the Index Digest of the Federal Reserve Bulletin (1921).

Hamlin died in Washington, D.C. on April 24, 1938.[1][3][4] He was buried at Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.


In 1898 Sumner married Huybertje Lansing Pruyn (April 8, 1878 – March 6, 1964), the daughter of John V. L. Pruyn and granddaughter of Amasa J. Parker.


Hamlin's papers are archived at the Library of Congress.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Charles S. Hamlin Dies in Washington. First Governor of the Federal Reserve Board Had Served From 1914 to 1936. Treasury Aide Since 1893. Was Member of Many Foreign Commissions. Honored by Japan for Famine Aid Served on Many Commissions Decorated by Japan". The New York Times. April 25, 1938. Retrieved 2012-10-27. April 24. Charles Sumner Hamlin, first governor of the Federal Reserve Board, died today after a long illness. He was 76 years old. At his death he was special counsel to the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System.
  2. ^ "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch( : 14 August 2017), Edward S Hamlin, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; citing enumeration district ED 753, sheet 232A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0560; FHL microfilm 1,254,560.
  3. ^ "Chas. S. Hamlin Dies in Boston [sic]". Reading Times. Associated Press. April 25, 1938. p. 16.
  4. ^ Carnegie Endowment (1928). Annual Report. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. p. 179.
  5. ^ "Charles Sumner Hamlin". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-11-17. Lawyer, politician, assistant secretary of the treasury, and governor of the Federal Reserve Board. Correspondence, diaries, manuscripts of writings and speeches, biographical notes, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, printed matter and other papers relating chiefly to Hamlin's service in the United States Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System, his civic affairs, and his family's social life in Washington, D.C.

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Government offices
New office Chair of the Federal Reserve
Succeeded by
William Harding