Spotlight on the Economists' Papers Archive: Juanita M. Kreps (1921-2010)

Juanita M. Kreps was the first woman and indeed the first economist to hold the position of Secretary of Commerce, which she did from 1977 to 1979, under President Jimmy Carter. From 1958 to 1977 she was also a professor of economics at Duke University, where she held the James B. Duke professorship (1972-1977) and served as Dean of the Woman's College (1969-1972) and University Vice President (1973-1977).

Kreps's papers, which are housed in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University, span the years 1921-2001 and contain incoming and outgoing correspondence (1968-1979), many speech drafts (1967-1997), twenty photograph albums, fifteen scrapbooks, 692 color and 595 black-and-white loose photographs, and over 100 negatives. There are also briefing books, reports, notes, minutes, appointee recommendations, speech drafts, and other documents relating to Kreps's cabinet-level work.

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Kreps was born in eastern Kentucky; her father managed a small coal mine. An interview with Juanita Kreps can be found on the website of UNC's Southern Oral History Project.