Floyd Arthur "Baldy" Harper
Austrian School
[[File:F A -Baldy- Harper|frameless|alt=]]
Born (1905-Template:MONTHNUMBER-07)7, 1905[1]
Middleville, Michigan
Died 21, 1973(1973-Template:MONTHNUMBER-21)[2]
Nationality United States
Influences Herbert J. Davenport[3]
Influenced Murray Rothbard[2], Antony Fisher[4], Charles Koch [5], Walter Block[5], W.M. Curtiss[2], Paul Poirot[2], Ivan Bierly[5], Ellis Lamborn[5], Ronald Hamowy[1], Neil McLeod[4], Christopher Coyne[6], N. A. Snow[6]

Floyd Arthur "Baldy" Harper (February 7, 1905 – April 1973) was an American academic, economist and writer who was best known for founding the Institute for Humane Studies in 1961.[7][8][9][10][1][11]



Baldy Harper was born and raised in Middleville, Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University. [7][8][9][10][1] He went on to obtain a doctorate in agricultural economics from Cornell University.[3] Economist Herbert J. Davenport was influential to Harper during his time at Cornell.[3]

In 1930, Harper married Marguerite Kaechele. The couple had four children: Barbara, Harriet, Helen, and Larry. [3]


The Federal Farm Board employed Harper as a research field agent in 1930 and 1931.[12] He worked as a business analyst for the Farm Credit Association in 1934.[12] In acedemia Harper spent 19 years as a professor of marketing at Cornell University and in 1937 was appointed acting head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Puerto Rico.[12][13][14][15][16][3][1] He left Cornell in 1946 after university officials decided that he should not be assigning readings of Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek's work.[13][14][15][16][3][1] In 1946, Harper helped Leonard Read start the Foundation for Economic Education.[9][17][10][18][1][2] A member of the Mont Pelerin Society, Harper was present at the group's first meeting in 1947 along with Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig Von Mises, Milton Friedman, and Karl Popper. [9][10][1][19] Harper served on the staff of the Foundation for Economic Education until 1958, when he became a co-director of the William Volker Fund, a position he held until 1961.[19][20][21][10][2] In the early 1960s, Harper served as a visiting professor of moral philosophy at Wabash College. [3][1]

Institute for Humane StudiesEdit

Gmu law school

Hazel Hall, home of the Mercatus Center and the Institute for Humane Studies on the George Mason University Arlington campus

Harper is best known for founding the Institute for Humane Studies.[7][8][2][22] He initially served as the Institute's secretary and treasurer.[3][11] He became the Institute's president in 1965, a position he held until his death in 1973.[3][23][11]

Harper founded the Institute in 1961 in Menlo Park, California.[7][8][2] The Institute, which began in Harper's garage, is a non-profit organization that offers educational and career programs.[7][24][25][5][26][27] The educational programs include seminars, scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students, an archive of recorded lectures, and an interactive website based on a multi-axis model of political thought.[28][29][30][31][32][33][5] The career assistance programs include paid internships for students and recent graduates, a networking website for classical liberal academics, and recognition of alumni accomplishments.[5][34][35][36][37] Initially serving as the secretary and treasurer, Harper became the Institute's president in 1966, a position he held until his death in 1973.[3][38][39] After beginning an association with George Mason University, Leonard Liggio, Walter Grinder, and John Blundell moved the institute to Fairfax, Virginia in 1985.[14][8] The organization is currently located in Hazel Hall on the George Mason University Arlington campus along with sister organization the Mercatus Center.[8][40][41]


Mentoring a network of classical liberal scholars, building institutions, encouraging scholarship, and laying out strategy and practice for the libertarian movement is where Harper's influence is visible today.[1][2][7][8][9][10][11]

Current Institute for Humane Studies chairman of the board Charles Koch said that Harper's book, Why Wages Rise, influenced his philosophical framework.[42]

In 1978 and 1979 the Institute for Humane Studies published The Writings of F. A. Harper.[43] Koch wrote the tribute section, saying, "Of all the teachers of liberty, none was as well-beloved as Baldy, for it was he who taught the teachers and, in teaching, taught them humility and gentleness."[43]

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University established the F.A. Harper Professorship in Economics, a position currently held by Christopher Coyne.[44] In October 2011, Coyne co-authored an article entitled War and Liberty: Wisdom From Leonard E. Read and F. A. 'Baldy' Harper. The article reviews the main themes of Harper's anti-war pamphlet In Search of Peace and argues that Harper's ideas are as important and relevant today as they were in 1950.[6]

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See alsoEdit


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Hamowy, Ronald (Aug 15, 2008). The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE. p. 623. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Rothbard, Murray N (2007-08-17). "Floyd Arthur 'Baldy' Harper, RIP". Mises Daily.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Poirot, Paul L (1979-08). "The Writings of F. A. Harper". The Freeman 29 (8). Retrieved 2012-01-11.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Blundell, John (1998-09). "No Antony Fisher, No IEA: 'The Case for Freedom' After 50 Years". Economic Affairs 18 (3): 42. ISSN 02650665.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Walter, Block,. I Chose Liberty: Autobiographies of Contemporary Libertarians. Ludwig von Mises Institute. ISBN 978-1-61016-002-5.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Coyne, Christopher J; Nicholas A Snow (2011-10-01). "War and Liberty: Wisdom from Leonard E. Read and F. A. 'Baldy' Harper". Economic Affairs 31 (3): 51–53. Template:Citation error. ISSN 1468-0270. Retrieved 2012-01-11.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Wilcox, Derk Arend (2000). The Right Guide: A Guide to Conservative, Free-Market, and Right-of-Center Organizations. Ann Arbor, MI: Economics America, Inc.. pp. 440. ISBN 978-0-914169-06-2.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Huebert, Jacob H (2010). Libertarianism Today. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. pp. 254. ISBN 978-0-313-37754-9.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Hülsmann, Jörg Guido. "Birth of a Movement". Mises Daily. Ludwig von Mises Institute. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Mirowski, Philip; Plehwe, Dieter (2009). The Road from Mont Pèlerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. pp. 469. ISBN 978-0-674-03318-4.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Rothbard, Murray Newton (1977). Power and Market: Government and the Economy. Sheed Andrews and McMeel. ISBN 9780836207507.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Sennholz, Mary (1956). On Freedom and Free Enterprise: Essays in Honor of Ludwig Von Mises. Ludwig von Mises Institute. ISBN 978-1-61016-119-0.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Peck, Jamie. Constructions of Neoliberal Reason. Oxford University Press. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-19-162501-5.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Blundell, John (2003). Waging the War of Ideas. Institute of Economic Affairs. ISBN 978-0-255-36547-5.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Gottfried, Paul (1993). The Conservative Movement. Twayne Publishers. ISBN 978-0-8057-9749-7.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Gladstein, Mimi Reisel; John Meadowcroft (2009-11-19). Ayn Rand. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8264-4513-1.
  17. Plehwe, Dieter (2006). Neoliberal Hegemony: A Global Critique. London: Taylor & Francis. p. 294. ISBN 0-415-37327-1.
  18. Phillips-Fein, Kim (2009). Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 356. ISBN 978-0-393-05930-4.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Hoplin, Nicole; Ron Robinson (2008-09-09). Funding Fathers: The Unsung Heroes of the Conservative Movement. Regnery Publishing. ISBN 978-1-59698-562-9.
  20. George, Susan (1997). "How to Win the War of Ideas". Dissent 44 (Summer 1997): 47–53. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  21. Lichtman, Allan J (2008). White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement. New York: Grove Press. pp. 598. ISBN 978-0-8021-4420-1.
  22. Frohnen, Bruce; Jeremy Beer, Jeffrey O. Nelson (2006). American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. ISI Books. ISBN 978-1-932236-43-9.
  23. Harper, F A (1931). F. A. Harper Papers. Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Archives.
  24. Hamowy, Ronald (Aug 15, 2008). The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE. pp. 217-218. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4.
  25. Convissor, Kate (August 1999). "The Acton Institute: Of Morality & the Marketplace". Grand Rapids Magazine (Grand Rapids, Michigan): pp. 36–37.
  26. "Institute for Humane Studies". Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  27. Kaplan, Benjamin R (2003). The Scholarship Scouting Report: An Insider's Guide to America's Best Scholarships. New York: HarperResource. p. 357. ISBN 978-0-06-093654-9.
  28. "2012 IHS Graduate Summer Seminars". Ohio University. E. W. Scripps School of Journalism. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  29. "Student Opportunities". eResources. State Policy Network. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  30. "Institute for Humane Studies". Brigham Young University. Office of Prestigious Scholarships & Fellowships. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  31. "Institute for Humane Studies". Syracuse University. Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  32. "Institute for Humane Studies". Lehigh University. Office of Financial Aid. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  33. "Institute for Humane Studies". Duke University. Office of Funding Opportunities. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  34. Zywicki, Todd (November 8, 2010). "Podcast at Kosmos Online". Volokh Conspiracy (Los Angeles). Retrieved January 05, 2012.
  35. Martens, Pam (SEPTEMBER 12, 2011). "The Koch Whisperers". CounterPunch (Petrolia, California). Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  36. Template:Cite conference
  37. "IJ Attorney Scott Bullock Wins Koch Award". Liberty & Law 15 (4). August 2006.
  38. The Writings of F. A. Harper, Volume 1: The Major Works The Writings of F. A. Harper, Volume 1: The Major Works, 1978
  39. The Writings of F. A. Harper The Freeman, August 1979
  40. Bogardus, Kevin (July 15, 2004). "Koch's low profile belies political power". Center for Public Integrity's iwatch news (Washington, DC).
  41. "Jobs". Philanthropy News Digest (New York). June 7, 2011. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  42. Glassman, James K (2011). "Market-Based Man: Meet Charles G. Koch, winner of the 2011 William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership". Philanthropy Magazine 2011 (Fall). Retrieved 2012-01-11.
  43. 43.0 43.1 Harper, F. A. (1979). The Writings of F. A. Harper. Arlington, Virginia: Institute for Humane Studies. ISBN 978-0-89617-000-1.
  44. Coyne, Christopher J.; Rachel L. Mathers (2011-04-11). The Handbook on the Political Economy of War. Edward Elgar Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84844-248-1.
  45. LeFevre, Robert (1966). The Philosophy of Ownership. Ludwig von Mises Institute. ISBN 978-1-61016-073-5.

External links Edit

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