Anna Schwartz died yesterday, at the age of 96. Most famous for her collaboration with Milton Friedman on their 1963 A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960, she was also a great scholar in her own right.
Praise for Ms. Schwartz is flowing today, and properly so. I’m sure that I’ll link to other accounts of her life and work as I learn of, and read, them. But here now are accolades from Jim Dorn, David Henderson, Bob Higgs, and the Wall Street Journal.
I didn’t know Anna Schwartz personally. I saw her on only a too-small handful of occasions, but was never introduced to her. I do, however, have an Anna Schwartz story to tell.
In 2008 I was a patient of a podiatrist on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. During the small talk I had with this doctor I learned that he majored in economics as an undergrad at Northwestern, and he learned that I teach economics at GMU. So we naturally chatted about current economic events.
At one point in our chit-chat he asked if I happened to know one of his long-time patients, a woman named Anna Schwartz. I replied that, while I don’t know her personally, I know much of her work and certainly regard her as a giant among economic historians and monetary scholars.
“Well, she’s got a lot of energy for her age!” the doctor told me, smiling admiringly as he spoke about her. He went on to recount a then-recent episode in which he casually asked Schwartz for her opinion of Paul Krugman. Schwartz responded with what I gather was a rather fiery discourse on Krugman’s February 2007 essay, in the New York Review of Books, “Who Was Milton Friedman?” (That’s the essay in which Krugman – just a few months after Friedman died – accused Friedman of being intellectually dishonest when speaking to the general public.)