The Federal Reserve System was created on December 23, 1913, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law. Before the new central bank could begin operations, the Reserve Bank Operating Committee, consisting of Treasury Secretary William McAdoo, Secretary of Agriculture David Houston, and Comptroller of the Currency John Skelton Williams, had the task of building a working institution from the basic framework of the new law. The Federal Reserve Board opened for business on August 10, 1914, and on November 16, 1914, the 12 regional Reserve Banks were open for business.
Learn more about the history at the Federal Reserve History Web Gateway, an online resource with biographies, images, and essays on key events in the Fed’s 100-year history. The gateway is part of the Fed’s effort during its centennial year to encourage a deeper reflection on its role in the nation’s economy.
The History Web Gateway offers students, educators, researchers, and others information about the founding of the Fed and its purpose, more than 230 biographies of key individuals, essays on major events in the Fed’s history, and access to various Fed archives. Additional content and features will be added over time.
The Federal Reserve is commemorating the centennial through a series of events and publications throughout 2014.
Former Federal Reserve Chairs Paul A. Volcker and Alan Greenspan served as honorary cochairs of a Centennial Advisory Council along with 24 other individuals representing a range of private- and public-sector organizations. A list of members is available on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ website.
For more information about the centennial commemoration, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the centennial commemoration and the inventory of historical collections available on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ website. See the "Related Resources" section at right for more information about our history.