St. Louis Fed Introduces Digitized Archives

July 03, 2008

ST. LOUIS — The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis recently introduced the Center for Economic Documents Digitization (CEDD), with a mission to preserve the nation's economic history through digitization.

To date, CEDD has digitized more than 300,000 pages of published material and archival collections from the Federal Reserve System and selected partners—currently, the Brookings Institution, the Government Printing Office and the Missouri Historical Society.

This storehouse of documents includes U.S. government publications, Federal Reserve publications, photographs, manuscripts, and multimedia formats, all available on the St. Louis Fed's FRASER (Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research) website:

"This single site offers a substantial and unique database of historical economic information and complements our other economic data products, FRED, GeoFRED, and ALFRED," said Katrina Stierholz, manager of the St. Louis Fed's research library and an officer in the Research Division of the Reserve Bank. "More important, we've provided users with several ways to search and find the materials they need."

A few highlights from CEDD are:

  • One-of-a-kind collection of papers from William McChesney Martin, the longest-serving chairman of the Federal Reserve (1951-70), including rare newsreel footage from 1935 of Martin on his first day as president of the New York Stock Exchange and an audio recording of phone conversations in the mid-60s between Martin and President Lyndon Johnson;
  • Survey of Current Business, back to 1921; and
  • Economic Report of the President, back to the first report in 1947.

Stierholz emphasized that CEDD offers researchers several distinct advantages over other library collections of economic materials.

"Everything we've digitized is either in the public domain or offered with permission from the original source to publish or post it," she said. "In addition, while libraries or other archives have materials that researchers need, their traditionally physical form limits their availability and access, especially if the material is too valuable or delicate. Digitizing liberates materials from those limitations and makes them available for online research."

Organizations or individuals interested in digitizing relevant economic documents or data, or discussing a prospective partnership with CEDD, can contact Stierholz at (314) 444-8552 or e-mail:

With branches in Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis serves the Eighth Federal Reserve District, which includes all of Arkansas, eastern Missouri, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, western Tennessee and northern Mississippi. The St. Louis Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., comprise the Federal Reserve System. As the nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve System formulates U.S. monetary policy, regulates state-chartered member banks and bank holding companies, and provides payment services to financial institutions and the U.S. government.

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