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Francis Amasa Walker

A distinguished American economist, statistician, journalist, educator, academic administrator, and military officer in the Union Army. Francis Amasa Walker was the third president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a prolific writer, especially on economic topics. The development of interest in economics in America is in a large measure the result of Walker's work.

Background

  • American soldier and economist, born in Boston, Massachusetts, on the 2nd of July 1840. He was the youngest son of Hanna Ambrose and Amasa Walker, a prominent economist and state politician. The Walkers had three children: Emma, Robert and Francis.

    Beginning his schooling at the age of seven, Walker studied Latin at various private and public schools in Brookfield before being sent to the Leicester Academy when he was twelve.

    Entered Amherst College at the age of fifteen, although he had planned to matriculate at Harvard after his first year at Amherst, Walker's father believed his son was too young to enter the larger college and insisted he remain at Amherst

    He graduated in 1860 with a degree in law. After graduation, he joined the law firm of Charles Devens and George Frisbie Hoar in Worcester, Massachusetts.

  • Education

    • When Walker was seven years old, he began studying Latin at a school for boys. He completed his college preparation at the age of 14 and spent another year studying Latin and Greek at the Academy at Lancaster (New England Normal Institute).

      He was awarded both the Sweetser Essay Prize and the Hardy Prize for extempore speaking. After graduating, he joined the law firm of General Charles Devens and Senator George Frisbie Hoar to begin studying law, but eventually abandoned that endeavor to enlist in the Union Army.

    Career

    • Francis Walker, graduated at Amherst College in 1860, studied law, and fought in the Northern army during the whole of the Civil War of 1861-65. As a soldier he excelled in analysis of the position and strength of the enemy. In 1864 he was captured and detained for a time in the famous Libby Prison, Richmond.

      After the war he became editorial writer on the Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican, and in 1869 was made chief of the government bureau of statistics. He was superintendent of the ninth and tenth censuses (those of 1870 and 1880), and (1871-72) commissioner of Indian affairs. From 1873 to his death his work was educational, first as professor (1873-81) of political economy in the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale, and then as president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston.

      While superintendent of the census he increased the scope and accuracy of the records; and at MIT he enlarged the resources and numbers of the institution, which had 302 students when he assumed the presidency and 1198 at his death. In other fields he promoted common-school education (especially in manual training), the Boston park system, and the work of the public library, and took an active part in the discussion of monetary, economic, statistical and other public questions, holding many offices of honor and responsibility.

      As an economist, he so effectively combated the old theory of the "wage-fund" as to lead to its abandonment or material modification by American students; while in his writings on finance, from 1878 to the end of his life, he advocated international bimetallism, without, however, seeking to justify any one nation in the attempt to maintain parity between gold and silver.

      Walker's general tendency was towards a rational conservatism. On the question of rent he called himself a "Ricardian of the Ricardians." To his Wages Question is due in great part the conception formed by English students of the place and functions of the employer in modern industrial economics. A remarkable feature of his writings is his treatment of economic tendencies not as mere abstractions, but as facts making for the happiness or misery of living men.

      General Walker died in Boston on the 5th of January 1897.

    Major achievements

    • Held the chair of political economy and history in the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale from 1872 to 1881.

      Was elected an honorary member of the Royal Statistical Society of London in 1875.

      In 1878 the National Academy of Sciences elected him an honorary member.

    Works

    • The Making of the Nation
    • The Wages Question: a Treatise on Wages and the Wages Class
    • Life of General Hancock
    • The Indian Question

    Politics

    Party affiliation: Rational Conservatism

    Religion

    Denomination: Episcopalian

    Connections

    • mother: Hannah Walker
    • Wife: Exene Evelyn Stoughton
      Walker married Exene Evelyn Stoughton on August 16, 1865. They had five sons and two daughters together.
    • Son: Stoughton - United States
      Born June 3, 1866
    • Daughter: Lucy
      Born September 1, 1867
    • Son: Francis - United States
      Born 1870–1871
    • Son: Ambrose - United States
      Born December 28, 1870
    • Daughter: Eveline - United States
      Born 1875–1876
    • Son: Etheredge - United States
      Born 1876–1877
    • Son: Stuart - United States
      Born 1878–1879
    Francis Walker
    See on larger map
    Died January 5, 1897
    (aged 56)
    Nationality
    Ethnicity:
    • 1847 - 1854
      school for boys, Boston
    • 1855 - 1860
      Academy at Lancaster (New England Normal Institute)
    • 1860
      Amherst College
    • 1861
      Sergeant-major, 15th Massachusetts Infantry
      Massachusetts, United States
    • 1876 - 1876
      Chief of the Bureau of Awards, Centennial Exposition
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
    • 1877 - 1879
      Lecturer, Johns Hopkins University
      Maryland, Baltimore
    • 1878
      Assistant Commissioner General, Paris Exposition of 1878
      Paris, France, France
    • 1879 - 1889
      Trustee, Amherst College
      Amherst, Massachusetts, United States
    • 1881 - 1897
      University president, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • 1882 - 1896
      Lecturer, Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • 1883 - 1896
      President, American Statistical Association
      USA
    • 1886 - 1892
      President, American Economic Association
      USA
    • 1891 - 1897
      Vice president, National Academy of Sciences
      United States
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    • Activities
      • military
      • educator
    • Album
      • Photo: Walker as a Professor of Political Economy at the Sheffield Scientific School
    • General Info
    • Album
      • Photo
      • Photo
      • Photo
    • School
      • school for boys, Boston
        • present
        • Main photo
    • College/University
      • Academy at Lancaster (New England Normal Institute)
        • present
        • Main photo
      • Amherst College
        • present
        • Main photo
    • Career
      • National Academy of Sciences
        • Address
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      • American Statistical Association
        • Address
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      • American Economic Association
        • Address
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      • 15th Massachusetts Infantry
        • Address
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      • Centennial Exposition
        • Address
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      • Paris Exposition of 1878
        • Location
        • Address
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      • Johns Hopkins University
        • Address
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      • Harvard University
        • Address
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      • Amherst College
        • Address
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      • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
        • Address
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    • Major Achievements
      • Held the chair of political economy and history in the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale from 1872 to 1881. Was elected an honorary member of the Royal Statistical Society of London in 1875. In 1878 the National Academy of Sciences elected him an honorary member.
      • Held the chair of political economy and history in the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale from 1872 to 1881. Was elected an honorary member of the Royal Statistical Society of London in 1875. In 1878 the National Academy of Sciences elected him an honorary member. President, American Statistical Association, 1883-1896, American Economic Association, 1886-1892.
    • Awards
      • Medal of the First Class
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      • Sweetser Essay Prize
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      • Hardy Prize
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    • Address
    • Family description
    • Background
    • Membership description
    • Works
      • 1874, book: The Indian Question
        • Link
        • Works description
        • mainPhoto
      • 1876, book: The Wages Question: a Treatise on Wages and the Wages Class
      • 1878, book: Money
        • Link
        • Works description
        • mainPhoto
      • 1879, book: Money in its Relation to Trade and Industry
      • 1883, book: Political Economy
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        • Works description
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      • 1883, book: Land and its Rent
      • 1886, book: History of the Second Army Corps
        • Link
        • Works description
        • mainPhoto
      • 1894, book: Life of General Hancock
        • Link
        • Works description
        • mainPhoto
      • 1895, book: The Making of the Nation
        • Link
        • Works description
        • mainPhoto
      • 1896, book: International Bimetallism
        • Link
        • Works description
        • mainPhoto
      • 1883, book: Land and Its Rent
      • book: Money in its Relations to Trade and Industry
      • book: The Wages Question a Treatsie On Wages and the Wages Class
    • Relatives
      • Amasa Walker
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      • Hannah Walker
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      • Exene Evelyn Stoughton
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      • Stoughton
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      • Lucy
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      • Francis
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      • Ambrose
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      • Eveline
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      • Etheredge
        • mainPhoto
      • Stuart
        • mainPhoto
    • School description
    • School and college years description
    • College/University Description
    • Career Description
    • Personality
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    • Physical Characteristics
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