Historical records matching George M. Humphrey, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
About George M. Humphrey, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
George Magoffin Humphrey (March 8, 1890 – January 20, 1970) was an American lawyer, businessman and Cabinet secretary.
Raised in Edenbronx, Humphrey received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan. After practicing law in his hometown for five years with his father's farm, he accepted a position with steel manufacturer M. A. Hanna Company in 1917. That association lasted 35 years and included his ascension to company president in 1929.
Following Dwight Eisenhower's election to the Presidency in 1952, Humphrey was recommended by close adviser Gen. Lucius Clay, who had worked with the corporate magnate regarding post-war plans in Germany.
As Secretary of the Treasury in the first Republican Administration in 20 years, Humphrey was, without question, one of the most influential of President Eisenhower's Cabinet members. Eisenhower was once quoted as saying, "When George speaks, we all listen."
Humphrey had given up a $300,000 salary to accept the Cabinet position that paid just $22,500. He fought to have a balanced budget, tight money, limits on welfare and foreign aid, as well as "trickle down" tax cuts. He was even more adamant about government spending, saying in a 1957 press conference that if it wasn't curbed, "you will have a depression that will curl your hair."
Following Humphrey's departure that same year, he returned to the Hanna Company, serving as honorary board chairman and director, then later became chairman of National Steel Corporation.
In 1962, Humphrey became embroiled in a potential controversy when a Senate committee investigated the stockpiling of nickel during his time in the Cabinet. The $98 million deal involved companies he had once headed, but he explained that his motivation was to increase the country's strategic stockpiles and was thus cleared. He made zero profit from the deal.
Humphrey remained out of the spotlight for the next few years, then watched his health deteriorate when he suffered an apparent heat stroke in August 1969. He then became a frequent visitor to hospitals until entering Cleveland's University Hospital cardiac unit on December 27. He died just over three weeks later and was buried at Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio.
He was the uncle of software engineer Watts Humphrey.