Joseph W. Barr

Joseph W. Barr

Joseph W. Barr
59th United States Secretary of the Treasury
In office
December 21, 1968 – January 20, 1969
President Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Henry H. Fowler
Succeeded by David M. Kennedy
Member of the U.S. House of Representative
from Indiana's 11th district
In office
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1961
Preceded by Charles B. Brownson
Succeeded by Donald C. Bruce
Personal details
Born (1918-01-17)January 17, 1918
Bicknell, Indiana, U.S.
Died February 23, 1996(1996-02-23) (aged 78)
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Resting place Leeds Episcopal Church Cemetery, Hume, Virginia, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Beth Williston Barr (1917-2009)
Relations John Barr
Children Joseph Williston Barr
Bonnie Barr Gilliom (Mrs. Michael Gilliom)
Cherry Ann Barr
Elizabeth Eugenia Barr LoSasso (Mrs. Andrew LoSasso)
Lynn Hamilton Barr Fineberg (Mrs. Keith Fineberg)
Parents Oscar Lynn Barr
Stella Florence Walker Barr
Alma mater DePauw University
Harvard University
Occupation Government
Profession Politician
Religion Anglican and later that Episcopalian
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1942-1945
Battles/wars World War II

Joseph Walker Barr (January 17, 1918 – February 23, 1996) was an American businessman and politician. He served as the United States Secretary of the Treasury from December 21, 1968 until January 20, 1969, in President Lyndon B. Johnson's cabinet.


  • Early life and politics 1
  • Treasury Department 2
  • Later years and death 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life and politics

Barr was born in Bicknell, Indiana, on January 17, 1918, the son of Oscar Lynn Barr and Stella Florence Walker. He graduated from DePauw University, and married the former Beth Ann Williston in Indianapolis on September 3, 1939; they had five children: Bonnie Barr Gilliom, Cherry Ann Barr, Joseph Williston Barr, Elizabeth Eugenia Barr LoSasso and Lynn Hamilton Barr Fineberg. He was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and earned a master's degree in economics from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1941.

He served in the United States Navy from 1942 to 1945, during World War II, with subchaser duty in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. He received a Bronze Star for sinking a submarine off Anzio Beach.

After Barr returned from the war, he engaged in the operation of grain elevators, theaters, real estate and publishing businesses. He was elected as a Democrat to the 86th United States Congress from the 11th district of Indiana (1959–1961). He lost the 1960 election and was appointed assistant for congressional relations to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, and then in 1963 was appointed Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Treasury Department

Barr served as the Undersecretary of the Treasury from 1965 to 1968, during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. With the resignation of Henry H. Fowler, he became the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in 1968. He served the shortest term of any Treasury Secretary, resigning in early 1969.

Later years and death

United States paper money always depicts the signature of the Secretary of the Treasury; because of Barr's short term, collectors speculated notes bearing his signature would be scarce. A common misconception is that currency bearing Barr's name is rare. In reality, 458,880,000 $1.00 notes were printed bearing his signature (although none in other denominations), but due to the $1.00's limited lifespan (they are estimated to last an average of 21 months in circulation)[2] it is unknown how many still exist.

Barr was the president and the chairman of Atlanta, Georgia from 1977 to 1981.

Barr died of a heart attack in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and was interred in Leeds Episcopal Church Cemetery in Hume, Virginia.


  1. ^ "Joseph Walker Barr." Marquis Who's Who TM. Marquis Who's Who, 2006. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. Document Number: K2014405121.
  2. ^ Federal_Reserve_Note#Criticisms

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles B. Brownson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 11th congressional district

January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1961
Succeeded by
Donald C. Bruce
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry H. Fowler
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
Served under: Lyndon B. Johnson

December 21, 1968 – January 20, 1969
Succeeded by
David M. Kennedy