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Wilson E. Schmidt Papers

Identifier: Ms-1982-010

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the professional papers of Wilson E. Schmidt, a professor of economics at Virginia Tech from 1966 to 1981 (department chair, 1966-1977), U. S. Dept. of Treasury deputy assistant secretary for research, and a specialist in economic development.

The collection contains correspondence, publications, manuscripts, speech texts, and copies of articles and reports by Schmidt and other economists, including Matthew B. Canzoneri, M.P. Dooley, Jeffrey A. Frankel, Guy V.G. Stevens, and Thomas Willett, and many others. Much of the collection consists of Schmidt's working subject files, particularly relating to externalities, under which are gathered such disparate topics as endangered species, narcotics, and outer space. These subject files contain reports, published materials, and correspondence. Some of these subjects, such as whales, also have separate folders elsewhere within the collection.


  • 1934 - 1981


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials. Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

Wilson Emerson Schmidt, son of Emerson P. and Gertrude Wilson Schmidt, was born in Madison, Wisconsin, on March 22, 1927. He obtained a bachelor's degree at the University of Maryland in 1947, and a master's degree at the University of Pittsburgh the following year while working as a lecturer. In 1952, he earned a Ph. D. at the Univesity of Virginia.

In 1950, Schmidt married Eleanor Butt Parker. (The couple would have three sons.) That same year Schmidt joined the Economics Department at George Washington University. He taught there until 1966, serving as chair of the department during his final year. He also served as visiting professor of economic development at Johns Hopkins in 1960, and at the Johns Hopkins Bologna Center (Italy) from 1963 to 1965. A specialist in economic development, Schmidt joined the Virginia Tech faculty as head of the Economics Department in 1966. He took leave to serve as deputy assistant secretary for research in the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury in 1970, establishing the department's research program. Two years later, he resumed his role as chair of Virginia Tech's Economics Department and continued to serve in the position until 1977. In 1981, President Reagan nominated Schmidt as the U.S. director of the World Bank. Before he could accept the position, Schmidt died, July 21, 1981.


21 Cubic Feet (14 boxes)


Professional correspondence, subject files, and writings of Wilson E. Schmidt, professor of economics at Virginia Tech (1966-1981), together with articles and reports, both published and unpublished, by other economists.


The collection is arranged in alphabetical order by file title, most of the file titles being original to the collection, and much of the collection retains Schmidt's original order. Many of the papers had been loose in their respective boxes when received. File titles for reports and articles within theses items were derived from the titles of these items; folder titles for other loose materials were largely derived from Schmidt's original titles on other files.

Physical Access

Please note: This collection is located in off-site storage and may require 2-3 days notice for retrieval. Boxes may be requested through the library's catalog, Addison, or by contacting Special Collections.

Source of Acquisition

The Wilson E. Schmidt Papers were donated to the University Libraries in 1982.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Wilson E. Schmidt Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Wilson E. Schmidt Papers commenced in November, 2023, and was completed in March, 2024. A box-level inventory of the collection had been created following its donation in 1982, and this inventory was used in creating an earlier finding aid in January, 2011.

A Guide to the Wilson E. Schmidt Papers, 1934-1981
John M. Jackson
2024 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020-08-06: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US