Henderson, Leon
(1895-1986)
   Born in Millville, New Jersey, Leon Henderson enrolled in Swarthmore College in 1915 but left in 1917 to serve in the U.S. Army. He returned to college in 1919, and following his graduation in 1920, he studied economics at the University of Pennsylvania until 1922. He taught economics at the Carnegie Institute of Technology until 1925, when he became an assistant to Governor Gifford Pinchot. After two years, Henderson became director of consumer credit research at the Russell Sage Foundation. He was particularly involved in research in loans and loan-sharking. In 1934, he was appointed director of the Research and Planning Division of the National Recovery Administration (NRA) by Hugh Johnson, and he became a considerable influence in the New Deal. When the NRA was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1935, Henderson became economic adviser to the Senate Committee on Manufacturers and in 1936 served as adviser to the Democratic Party’s National Committee. That same year he was appointed to the Works Progress Administration, and he became an advocate of deficit spending and antimonopoly legislation. Following the “Roosevelt Recession,” Henderson helped persuade Franklin D. Roosevelt to increase federal spending and establish the Temporary National Economic Committee to examine the issue of monopoly. Henderson served as the executive director of the committee from 1938 to 1941. He was also appointed to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1939, and in 1940 he served on the National Defense Advisory Commission.
   In 1941, Henderson was placed in charge of the Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply, which once America entered World War II became the Office of Price Administration. Because of the criticism of the price controls, particularly from farmers, Henderson resigned in 1942 and became head of Civilian Supply for the War Production Board (WPB). After the war, he became president of the International Hudson Corporation, chair of the Americans for Democratic Action, and chief economist for the Research Institute of America.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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