The needler in the haystack.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The house where Paul Volcker lived



Learning that former Fed chairman Paul Volcker ("Will a Plainfielder save capitalism as we know it?") lived in Plainfield, I was led on a bit of a hunt to find out just where.

His biography indicates he worked at Chase Manhattan Bank in New York from 1957 to 1962, at which point he joined the administration of president John F. Kennedy.

This seemed the most likely period to begin researching, as he would have been a young man -- 30 in 1957 -- with a family and the beginnings of a promising career. Born in Cape May, raised in Teaneck, and a graduate of Princeton, it seems quite natural that he would have chosen to hang his hat in New Jersey.

But Plainfield?

My mind raced to big old houses on leafy streets in the Netherwood Heights or Sleepy Hollow areas.

But it was not to be.

Using the Plainfield Public Library's online database of Plainfield city directories (you must use it at the Library, as their license does not allow direct Internet access), I had my answer in just a few minutes.

A few minutes, that is, after finally being shown how the 'search' function works (answer: no space between 'city' and directories').

While I might have taken hours leafing through the paper versions, searching the online PDF version was a snap.

There he was in the 1960 volume: Volcker, Paul A., economist, 912 Carnegie Avenue.

No leafy neighborhood this, Carnegie Avenue would have been pretty raw looking in the late 1950s, part of the housing boom in Plainfield that accommodated the veterans of WWII who came home to start families, finish college and get on with their lives as the 'greatest generation'.

Paul Volcker chose a modest but thoroughly respectable small starter home. Perfectly fitting, once you know a little bit more about him.

P.S. -- Note to Maria, in search of Evergreen School memorabilia: This means Volcker's daughter Janice and son James very likely are Evergreen School alumni; he and his wife may even have been active in the PTA (no PTOs in those days).


-- Dan Damon

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2 comments:

olddoc said...

Yes Dan, BOG was either a typo or more likely a correction by the spelling checker which has never heard about blogs.

Jerry's "bogging" blogs are material for a book. Certainly I am not capable of brief comments regarding what he means. I only wish I had Maria's wit.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dan! I have been getting some good feed back about Evergreen, and this new lead is HOT! just like today's economy.

Maybe once we pass the economic turmoil I'll try to get in touch with the Volckers.

Thanks again,

An unaligned Maria