George M. Humphrey (1953 - 1957)

Appointed Secretary of the Treasury by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953, George M. Humphrey (1890 - 1970) advocated a free market economy. He believed that the less the Government did, the more the American people would prosper, and he recommended a reduced federal budget and a cut in taxes to spur individual initiative.

Portrait of George M. Humphrey.

Sec. George M. Humphrey
Thomas Edgar Stephens
Oil on canvas
59 x 48 1/2 x 3"

Humphrey adopted a policy of offering government securities at the higher market rate of interest, rather than at the fixed Federal Reserve rate, to attract investment by the general public and to reduce the proportion of such securities held by Federal Reserve banks. He enlivened Cabinet meetings with polemics on the need for checking federal deficits, delivered as ardently as Secretary of State John Foster Dulles' exhortations on checking Communist expansion. In response to Eisenhower's 1953 budget he quipped, "There are a lot of places in this budget that can be cut." He warned that the "terrific" tax burden must be eased or "I will predict that you will have a depression that will curl your hair." He placed the national debt on a longer term basis in order to ward off further inflation. Humphrey resigned from office in 1957.

About the Artist

Born and trained as an artist in England, Thomas Edgar Stephens (1886 - 1966) came to this country in 1929 and became a United States citizen. Between 1946 and 1960 he painted twenty-four portraits of Dwight D. Eisenhower, for various institutions and individuals, and later induced the former president to take up painting as a hobby. Stephens also painted the entire Eisenhower Cabinet. His portrait of George M. Humphrey was painted from life in 1957.