Liberty Street Economics

« | Main | »

April 6, 2012

Historical Echoes: Fed Chairman or Rock Star? When Arthur Burns Made Rolling Stone

Amy Farber, New York Fed Research Library

Arthur Burns, Federal Reserve chairman between 1970 and 1978, made the October 21, 1976, issue of Rolling Stone magazine, but not the cover—sorry, Dr. Hook! This bicentennial issue had a special feature, “The Family,” comprised of, according to the introductory material, seventy-three photographic portraits of “a broad group of men and women—some of whom we had never heard of before—who constitute the political leadership of America,” taken by renowned photographer Richard Avedon. If you’re old enough to remember these important people, a look through this issue is an exciting “trip” back in time.

    Burns’ portrait, which can also be viewed on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website as part of its photograph collection, appears on page 84. (The museum has acquired many of the portraits that appeared in the Rolling Stone issue.) Other portraits also available on the Met website are Cesar Chavez (United Farm Workers organizer), Shirley Chisholm (congresswoman), Bella Abzug (congresswoman), Ralph Nader (consumer advocate), George H. W. Bush (when he was CIA director), and Ronald Reagan (former governor of California before he became president). On the same site, you can see an overview of many of the portraits (they end after the picture of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the fourth page).

    The only texts to accompany the article are biographical summaries obtained from Who’s Who (the editors decided that the “portraits speak for themselves”). The one for Burns is one of the longest of the seventy-three, due to an extensive list of degrees, honorary degrees, positions, appointments, awards, and publications—and too long to reproduce here.

    Burns also made the cover of Time magazine—twice. He appeared on June 1, 1970, where he’s “facing an economy on the brink,” and on August 16, 1971, with caricatures of Burns and George Shultz trying to literally hold up a sagging graph of the economy.

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the author.

About the Blog

Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from New York Fed economists working at the intersection of research and policy. Launched in 2011, the blog takes its name from the Bank’s headquarters at 33 Liberty Street in Manhattan’s Financial District.

The editors are Michael Fleming, Andrew Haughwout, Thomas Klitgaard, and Asani Sarkar, all economists in the Bank’s Research Group.

Liberty Street Economics does not publish new posts during the blackout periods surrounding Federal Open Market Committee meetings.

The views expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the New York Fed or the Federal Reserve System.

Economic Research Tracker

Image of NYFED Economic Research Tracker Icon Liberty Street Economics is available on the iPhone® and iPad® and can be customized by economic research topic or economist.

Economic Inequality

image of inequality icons for the Economic Inequality: A Research Series

This ongoing Liberty Street Economics series analyzes disparities in economic and policy outcomes by race, gender, age, region, income, and other factors.

Most Read this Year

Comment Guidelines


We encourage your comments and queries on our posts and will publish them (below the post) subject to the following guidelines:

Please be brief: Comments are limited to 1,500 characters.

Please be aware: Comments submitted shortly before or during the FOMC blackout may not be published until after the blackout.

Please be relevant: Comments are moderated and will not appear until they have been reviewed to ensure that they are substantive and clearly related to the topic of the post.

Please be respectful: We reserve the right not to post any comment, and will not post comments that are abusive, harassing, obscene, or commercial in nature. No notice will be given regarding whether a submission will or will
not be posted.‎

Comments with links: Please do not include any links in your comment, even if you feel the links will contribute to the discussion. Comments with links will not be posted.

Send Us Feedback

Disclosure Policy

The LSE editors ask authors submitting a post to the blog to confirm that they have no conflicts of interest as defined by the American Economic Association in its Disclosure Policy. If an author has sources of financial support or other interests that could be perceived as influencing the research presented in the post, we disclose that fact in a statement prepared by the author and appended to the author information at the end of the post. If the author has no such interests to disclose, no statement is provided. Note, however, that we do indicate in all cases if a data vendor or other party has a right to review a post.