Simons, Henry Calvert, 1899-1946

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1899-10-09
Death 1946-06-19
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Economist. Born 1899. Received A.B. from University of Michigan, 1920; studied at University of Michigan and Columbia University. Taught at University of Iowa, University of Chicago in Department of Economics and Law School. Died 1946.

From the description of Papers, 1925-1962 (University of Chicago Library). WorldCat record id: 222042383

From the description of Papers, 1925-1962. (University of Chicago Library). WorldCat record id: 43061842

Henry Calvert Simons (1899-1946) was born in Virden, Illinois on October 9, 1899. His father, Henry Calvert Simons Sr., was a lawyer by profession. His mother, Mollie Sims Simons, was a woman with great social and educational ambitions for her children. She sent Simons' older sister, Ella Simons [Siple], to Wellesley College and Simons to the University of Michigan.

Simons received his A.B. degree from the University of Michigan in 1920. He continued his studies at the University of Michigan and Columbia University, but did not receive a degree. In 1921, he went to the University of Iowa as a part-time Instructor and graduate student. He was appointed Assistant Professor at Iowa in 1925 and remained through the spring of 1927. It was here that Simons came under the influence of Frank H. Knight, who interested him in the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago.

In the summer of 1927, Simons came to the University of Chicago, as a Lecturer in Economics. He was appointed Assistant Professor in October, 1928. Simons had previously completed his graduate coursework in economics at the University of Chicago. Despite his many later contributions to periodical literature in the field of economics, he never submitted the necessary dissertation to receive the Ph.D. degree. This lack of formal credentials undoubtedly hampered Simons' academic career at the University of Chicago-he was not appointed Associate Professor until October, 1942. However, except for part-time consulting services to the Departments of Justice and Treasury during World War II, there is no indication that he ever sought employment anywhere else.

Simons formal (and informal) education was enhanced by studies in Germany during 1928. Upon his return to Chicago, he published four book reviews and a famous Syllabus Materials for Economics 201. In 1934 Simons' A Positive Program for Laissez-Faire was published by the University of Chicago Press as Public Policy Pamphlet No. 15 and he became an instant celebrity. Personal Income Taxation followed in 1938. The remainder of Simons writing career was devoted to book reviews and monographs. An additional treatise, Federal Income Taxation was published posthumously along with Economic Policy for a Free Society, a book of reprinted monographs edited by Aaron Director.

In 1939, Simons was assigned to teach, in the University of Chicago Law School as part of a continuing interdisciplinary program in law and economics. Simons' appointment as Associate Professor in 1942 was considered to be "two-thirds in the Economics Department and one-third in the Law School". This divided assignment was continued until July 1945 when he finally achieved the rank of Professor.

After years of a bachelor existence at the University of Chicago Quadrangle Club, Simons married Marjorie Kimball Powell in 1941. The Simons had one daughter, Mary Powell Simons, born January 27, 1944.

In 1941, Simons listed his "academic fields of special interest" as economic theory, money and taxation. His "recreational interests" were tennis, fishing and gramophone. He considered himself somewhat of an authority on classical music recordings.

Throughout 1945 and 1946 Simons suffered from failing health, mainly in the form of insomnia and stomach ulcers. On the morning of June 19, 1946, he was found unconscious and died later the same day apparently of an overdose of sleeping tablets. There is no evidence in Simons' papers that his death was not accidental.

From the guide to the Simons, Henry C. Papers, 1925-1962, (Special Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)

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Subjects:

  • Banks and banking
  • Income tax
  • Economics
  • Free enterprise
  • Law and economics
  • Taxation
  • Antitrust law
  • Monetary policy
  • Labor economics

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)