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About Joseph Walker Barr
Joseph Walker Barr (January 17, 1918 – February 23, 1996) was an American businessman and politician.
Born in Bicknell, Indiana, he graduated from DePauw University in 1939, where 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 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.
He was Undersecretary of the Treasury from 1965 to 1968 during the administration of President Lyndon Johnson, and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from December 21, 1968, to January 20, 1969, the shortest term of any Secretary of the Treasury.
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) it is unknown how many still exist.
Barr was president and chairman of American Security and Trust Company from 1969 to 1974 and chairman of Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, Georgia from 1977 to 1981. He died in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.