William H. Woodin (1933)

In 1933 William H. Woodin (1868 - 1934) was appointed Secretary of the Treasury by his close personal friend President Franklin D. Roosevelt at one of the most critical moments in the Nation's history. The financial system of the country had been weakened by the effects of the Depression, including increasing lack of confidence in the banking system and huge withdrawals of deposits. The crisis of 1933 saw massive bank failures, which made the situation worse. Woodin's task was to restore public confidence in the Government and to carry out Roosevelt's New Deal policies of fiscal and monetary expansion, which deviated sharply from those of his predecessor Ogden Mills.

Portrait of William H. Woodin.

Sec. William H. Woodin
Ellen Emmet Rand
Oil on canvas
48 x 41 1/2 x 2 3/4"

To deal with the crisis of 1933, Roosevelt created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, an independent agency that insured bank deposits and was designed to increase public confidence in the banks. Woodin devised regulations permitting banks to resume operations and took measures to prevent the hoarding of gold. He resigned after less than a year due to ill health.

About the Artist

Born in California, Ellen Emmet Rand (1875 - 1941) is the best-known of the third generation of women artists in an illustrious Irish-American family that includes Henry and William James. She is considered one of the earliest truly professional women portraitists in this country. In 1884 she came to New York and studied at the Art Students League with Robert Reid and Kenyon Cox. She did illustrations for Vogue and Harper's Weekly from 1893 - 94. Rand left for Europe in 1896, eventually settling in Paris to study with Frederick MacMonnies. During this time she met John Singer Sargent in London who gave her artistic advice. Sargent, who was a friend of Henry James, reported that young Emmet had more talent than any other man or woman her age he had ever seen. Rand is noted for her portrait of President Franklin Roosevelt that is in the White House Collection and a portrait of Augustus Saint-Gaudens which is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Secretary Woodin's portrait was painted posthumously from a photograph, and donated to Treasury by Mrs. Woodin on February 22, 1935.