Galbraith, John Kenneth, 1908-2006

Alternative names
Birth 1908-10-15
Death 2006-04-29

Biographical notes:

Galbraith taught economics at Harvard.

From the description of Papers of John Kenneth Galbraith, 1958. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 76973248

John Kenneth Galbraith was born in Iona Station, Ontario, Canada in 1908. He emigrated to the United States in 1931 and became an American citizen in 1937. He received degrees from Ontario Agricultural College (1931), University of California (1933, 1934), and studied at Cambridge, England (1937-38). His academic career has been at Harvard University where he was Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics (1959-75) and since 1975 Professor Emeritus. Galbraith was an advisor and speechwriter to John F. Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy, and George McGovern. Galbraith has authored and co-authored close to fifty books, mostly on economics. 'The Affluent Society' was his most celebrated and popular work.

From the description of The affluent society, [1957?] [manuscript] [1957?] (The University of Queensland Library). WorldCat record id: 62543222

From the description of The affluent society. [1957?] (Libraries Australia). WorldCat record id: 224480955

Epithet: Subject of Mss Eur F236

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001477.0x0003b9

Epithet: Professor economist

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000561.0x000184

John Kenneth Galbraith (b. 1908, Ontario, Canada), scholar and economist. He served as an advisor in both the American and Canadian governments from the 1930s onward. He studied agricultural economics at the Ontario Agricultural College (then part of the University of Toronto; now, the University of Guelph) and graduated with distinction in 1931. He went on to study agricultural economics at the University of California, receiving his Ph.D. in 1934 after submitting a dissertation on public expenditures in California counties. In this year he also began his long, though frequently interrupted, tenure at Harvard University, where he became an emeritus professor. Galbraith''s academic career frequently gave way to public service. He worked in the Department of Agriculture during the New Deal and in the Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply during World War II, where, according to John S. Gambs, he was "virtually the economic czar of the United States until he left in 1943." From his wartime work emerged a monograph, The Theory of Price Control (1952), which, though not widely influential, contained some of the seminal ideas of his major works. After the end of the war in Europe, Galbraith worked with the Office of Strategic Services directing research on the effectiveness of the Allies'' strategic bombing of Germany. In 1947 he was one of the liberal founders of the Americans for Democratic Action. After working prominently as a speechwriter in the presidential campaigns of Senator Adlai Stevenson, Galbraith went on to chair the Democratic Advisory Council during Dwight D. Eisenhower''s Republican administration. In 1956 he visited India where his fascination with the country inspired his later works. He campaigned for President John F. Kennedy, and after Kennedy''s victory he was named U.S. ambassador to India in the early 1960s. An outspoken critic of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, he campaigned on behalf of the presidential ambitions of Senators Eugene McCarthy (1968) and George McGovern (1972). Later he worked in the campaigns of Congressman Morris Udall (1976) and Senator Edward Kennedy (1980). Galbraith''s major intellectual contributions lie in the trilogy The Affluent Society (1958), The New Industrial State (1967), and Economics and the Public Purpose (1973). Along the way he published over 20 other books, including two novels, a co-authored book on Indian painting, memoirs, travelogues, political tracts, and several books on economic and intellectual history. He also collaborated on and narrated a Public Broadcasting System television series, "The Age of Uncertainty."

From the description of Galbraith, John Kenneth, 1908-2006 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10678037


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  • Universities and colleges--Sociological aspects
  • Economics--Study and teaching (Higher)--20th century
  • Economic history
  • Economics--Research--20th century
  • Universities and colleges--Political aspects


  • Economists


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