Long before FRED, there was Homer Jones.
Jones was the St. Louis Fed’s research director (1958-1971) whose mission to make economic data more accessible to the public eventually evolved into FRED. Jones began his mission 55 years ago by mailing typed reports, starting with the one shown above from May 17, 1961. He pledged to provide these data to “anyone who thinks that such time series may have value” with the chief intention of illuminating “current objectives and measures of monetary policy and action.”
By the late 1970s, the St. Louis Fed was mailing its U.S. Financial Data publication to over 35,000 subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. It was incredibly popular and was even mentioned on the Today Show in the 1970s and cited as a useful source in Money magazine. In the 1980s, the Bank began to offer data over a recorded line. The rest is (FRED) history. St. Louis Fed research directors since Jones have continued to place a high priority on enhancing data services and providing high-quality customer service.
Homer Jones, shown below on the right with former St. Louis Fed president Darryl Francis, is honored in an annual lecture series.
Suggested by Katrina Stierholz.