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Theses and Dissertations

Vernon L. Brown, "Scrip and Other Forms of Emergency Currency Issued in the United States During the Depression Years of 1931-1934" 2 Vols. M.A. Thesis, New York University, 1941.

Brown's two-volume thesis is a massive and largely descriptive survey of the varieties of scrip issued during the Great Depression. Written for his degree in Business Administration at New York University, Brown relied, among others, upon Benjamin Lazar for information sources. While the classification system seems overly complicated, the volumes are a rich source of detail about various currency experiments. Volume two is valuable for reprinting many primary documents relating to scrip, as well as for its extensive (if incomplete) catalog of scrip issues.

No longer on file at New York University, a copy of this thesis can be found at the American Numismatic Association library in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Joel William Canaday Harper, "Scrip and Other Forms of Local Money" Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Chicago 1948.

Shorter, but more analytical than Brown's thesis, Harper's work attempts to assess the success of local money during the Great Depression. Different organizations had different motives for issuing scrip. Municipalities sought to collect delinquent taxes, and to compensate for the unavailability of bank credit. Businessmen sought to encourage trade, especially in competition with chain stores; most of their scrip made use of the stamp device. Organizations of the unemployed groups sought to facilitate barter transactions within their groups. Most of their scrip was issued against labor or commodities without a stamp feature.

Harper estimates that 118 local governments, 80 business groups, and 60-75 self-help/barter organizations issued scrip. He concludes that, while important for municipal finance, scrip did not contribute significantly to business prosperity or unemployment relief.

This work also includes a catalog of scrip issues. From his bibliography, Harper seems to have been unaware of Brown's work.

Clark Kerr, "Productive Enterprises of the Unemployed" Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, 1939.

Not seen by this reader. Kerr was later chancellor at Berkeley.