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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
Personal details
Born Joseph Walker Barr
(1918-01-17)January 17, 1918
Bicknell, Indiana, United States
Died February 23, 1996(1996-02-23) (aged 78)
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Resting place Leeds Episcopal Church Cemetery, Hume, Virginia, United States
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Beth Ann Williston (m. 1939 - 1996, his death)
Children Bonnie Barr (Mrs. Michael Gilliom)
Cherry Ann Barr
Joseph Williston Barr
Elizabeth Eugenia Barr (Mrs. Andrew LoSasso)
Lynn Hamilton Barr(Mrs. Keith Fineberg)
Alma mater DePauw University
Harvard University

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


Early life and politics

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

He was to 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 was to 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.

Johnson administration

Undersecretary of the Treasury from 1965 to 1968 during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, when he succeeded Henry H. Fowler and become U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from December 21, 1968, to January 20, 1969, the shortest term of any Secretary of the Treasury before the Nixon administration of 1969.

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 only last an average of 21 months in circulation)[2] it is unknown how many still exist.

Later life and death

Barr was to president and the chairman of American Security and Trust Company, from 1969 to 1974 and the chairman of Federal Home Loan Bank in Atlanta, Georgia, from 1977 to 1981.

Barr died of heart attack in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on February 23, 1996, and was interred at the 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. "". 

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

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

Succeeded by
David M. Kennedy

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