The Henry George Foundation of America

Collection Overview

Title: The Henry George Foundation of America Collection, 1926-2001

Predominant Dates: 1930-1989

Arrangement: 1) HGFA Officer Correspondence and Publication; 2) HGFA Publications; 3) Material related to the Henry George Memorial Congresses; and, 4) Material related to the Center for the Study of Economics.

Biographical Note

Frederic C. Howe, William McNair, George E. Evans, Percy R. Williams, Charles Eckert, and other disciples of Henry George established the Henry George Foundation of America (HGFA) in 1926 to popularize the ideas of the great economist and work for their adoption. The headquarters were in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where many of the founders had participated in the property tax reform movement.

Among the earliest activities of the HGFA included the purchase of the birthplace of Henry George in January 1927 and the establishment of a Birthplace Restoration Fund to restore the building to its original 1839 appearance. The HGFA also continued the tradition started by the Joseph Fels Fund Commission of sponsoring annual conferences to celebrate the legacy of Henry George.

At the Third Annual Henry George Memorial Congress held in Pittsburgh, HGFA President George Evans described the purpose of these annual meetings, stating:

It has been our aim to have all elements and shades of opinion represented and this variety of ideas should make our conference very stimulating and profitable. We aim to make the annual Congress a clearing house for the presentation of helpful ideas and reports of activities in all lines of endeavor.

The HGFA sponsored a conference every year until 1941. After WWII, the Henry George School of Social Science became the principal sponsor of the national meetings.

The HGFA established the Graded Tax League of Pennsylvania in 1950 to promote the passage of a new state law that would authorize other cities in the state to enjoy the same graded tax system in place in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s former Chief Assessor Percy R. Williams and one-time Pennsylvania Congressman Charles R. Eckert led the political campaign while a team of volunteers from the HGFA staffed League offices across the state. Both Eckert and Williams also held HGFA offices. Eckert served as President from 1949 until his death in 1958 and Williams was Executive Secretary from 1926 until his death in 1977.

In 1951, the League enlisted Pittsburgh State Senator Bernard B. McGinnis to sponsor a new graded tax bill that authorized any “third class” city—a city with a population less than 250,000—in Pennsylvania to adopt the graded tax system pending approval of the city council. By 1989, 10 Pennsylvania cities taxed land at a higher rate than buildings.

Indiana University Professor of History and Social Science Steven Cord became President of the HGFA in 1977. Under his leadership, the HGFA established the Center for the Study of Economics (CSE) in 1980 to serve as the official and independent educational arm. Unlike the HGFA, which is a 501(c)4, the CSE is a 501(c)3; donations to the CSE are tax deductible. According to its website, the CSE aids local governments in the evaluation and reform of current property tax policy.

The HGFA began publishing Equal Rights, a quarterly newsletter edited by Percy Williams in 1970. Penny Colgan succeeded Williams as editor in 1977 and in 1980, publication of Equal Rights became the responsibility of the CSE. The CSE also publishes a monthly bulletin called Incentive Taxation.

Collection Content

Series One: HGFA Officer Correspondence and Publications

Charles Eckert, President (1949-1958)

Charles R. Eckert, Henry George – Sound Economics and the “New Deal” (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1935)

Charles R. Eckert, “Foundation News” (July 1950)

Charles R. Eckert, A Study in the Correlation of Georgism and Practical Politics (Pittsburgh, PA: The Henry George Foundation of America)

John R. Fuchs, President (1960-1966)

“Judge Fuchs’ Book…” New Braunfels Zeitung-Chronicle (July 25, 1957)
J.R. Fuchs, [Letter to the Editor] San Antonio Light (August 14, 1957)
J.R. Fuchs, [Letter to the Editor] Zeitung-Chronicle and Herald (January 9, 1959)
J.R. Fuchs, The Sovereign Remedy. Reprint (1961; orig. 1922)
J.R. Fuchs, “To All Realtors!” New Braunfels Herald (May 23, 1961)
J.R. Fuchs, [Letter to the Editor] Zeitung-Chronicle and Herald (May or June 1961)
Wray Weddle, Jr., “Junk Taxes, Judge Asks” The Austin American (September 1, 1961)
J.R. Fuchs, “Land Values” The San Antonio Light (January 10, 1962)
J.R. Fuchs, “Charge to Grand Jury of Comal County” (May 1962)
J.R. Fuchs, “Foundation Head Salutes Coverage” Pittsburgh Post Gazette (July 21, 1962)
J.R. Fuchs, “‘Sickness’ From Taxes” San Antonio Express (June 24, 1968)
J.R. Fuchs, “Brief Statement in Support of Constitutional Amendment…” (undated)
J.R. Fuchs, “A Judge on Tax Justice” (undated)

Percy Williams, Executive Secretary (1926-1977)

Barney Haughey to Percy R. Williams (October 19, 1923)
“The Graded Tax Points the Way toward Scientific Taxation” (with L.R. Bonta), 1929
“Pittsburgh’s Graded Tax in Full Operation,” National Municipal Review, reprint (orig. 1925)
“Pennsylvania” in Land-Value Taxation Around the World, reprint (orig. 1955)
Percy R. Williams, “To All Georgists” HGFA Bulletin (December 10, 1959)
“Pittsburgh’s Pioneering in Scientific Taxation,” AJES (January 1962)
“Pittsburgh’s Experience with the Graded Tax Plan,” AJES (January 1963)
“The People Speak” (March 10, 1966)
“The All-Devouring Rent Theory” (December 31, 1970)
“Why Should We Pursue an Endless Tax Debate?” (June 16, 1971)
“Aggressive Action Essential for Victory” (undated)
Pittsburgh Graded Tax Plan: Its History and Experience (undated)

Steven Cord (President, 1977-1989)

Other Officers

William E. Schoyer and Percy R. Williams, “Friend” (December 10, 1971)
Lawrence Walsh, “Unity, Action Theme of Tax Parley Here” Pittsburgh Press (June 15, 1974)
Jacob B. Himmelstein to the Board of Directors, HGFA (August 20, 1980)
Hanno T. Beck to Trustees of the HGFA (August 8, 1989)
Hanno T. Beck to Trustee of the HGFA (September 6, 1989)
John C. Weaver to Hon. Edward L. Sadowsky (undated)
John C. Weaver, “Could Business Be Run Like Government?” (undated)

Series Two: HGFA Publications

Equal Rights

By Laws, Annual Reports and Meeting Minutes

Henry George Foundation of America. By Laws (1978)
Henry George Foundation of America. By Laws (1989)
Henry George Foundation of America. “Annual Meeting of Board of Trustees” (July 29, 1989)

Articles and Pamphlets

Will Atkinson, “An Outline of Henry George’s Progress and Poverty” (1927)
Ernest O. Kooser, “Trade and State” (February 1930)
C.J. Ewing, “The Economics of Moses” (1930)
C.J. Ewing, “The Economics of Moses” (reprint)
C.J. Ewing, “Plenty for All and Permanent Prosperity” (July 1931)
C.J. Ewing, “The Menace of Communism—And the Remedy for Mounting Taxation” (1932)
C.J. Ewing, “The Worship of Baal” (1958)
C.J. Ewing, “The Mission of John the Baptist” (1958)
C.J. Ewing, “Christian Economics” (1958)
The Greatest Cause and What You Can Do About It (undated)
William E. Clement, Wide Economic Expansion Now a “Must” (undated)
Unemployment. Industrial Depression. Poverty. A Challenge to Georgists (undated)
G. Kelly, “A Freeman’s Citizenship: Complete Democracy to be achieved” (undated)

Series Three: Material related to the Henry George Memorial Congresses

Second Annual Convention under the Auspices of the Henry George Foundation of America. Official Program (September 12-14, 1927)

“The Story of ‘Progress and Poverty:’ An Address Delivered by Benjamin W. Burger, at the Henry George Congress, Held at Pittsburgh, PA., Sept. 21, 1929” (New York: Single Tax Publishing, Co. [1929])

Ninth Annual Convention under the Auspices of the Henry George Foundation of America. Official Program (October 8-10, 1934)

Benjamin W. Burger, “What to Emphasize in Teaching the Philosophy of Henry George.” An Address delivered September 28, 1935 at the Tenth Annual Henry George Congress held at the Hotel New Yorker, New York City.

Edward P. Donovan to “Friend” regarding the Tenth Annual Henry George Congress (August 26, 1935)

Michael Aaronsohn to “Friend” regarding the Eleventh Annual Henry George Congress (October 15, 1936)

Invitation to the Twelfth Annual Henry George Congress Sponsored by the Henry George Foundation of America (October 14-16, 1937)

Invitation to the Thirteenth Annual Henry George Congress and the First Convention of the Tax Relief Association, Inc. Sponsored by the Henry George Foundation of America (September 7-9, 1938)

Charles R. Eckert and P.R. Williams to “Fellow Georgist” regarding the Seventeenth Annual Henry George Congress (August 20, 1949)

Series Four: Material Related to the Center for the Study of Economics

Incentive Taxation

Steven Cord, Local Gradualism (11 Additional Formulas), (1998)

Center for the Study of Economics, “Land Value Taxation in Urban and Smart Growth Policy Discussion: Recent Developments from 1996-2001” [2001]

Center for the Study of Economics, “To Preserve Local Government, It’s Time to Save the Property Tax” (2001)

Walter Rybeck and Edward J. Dodson, “Urban Revitalization: Limitations and Opportunities for the Lender” (undated)