The New York Times | 25 June 1991

Dexter M. Keezer Is Dead at 95; Economist Gauged U.S. Outlook


The.New.York.Times 25June1991p00024Dexter M. Keezer, an economist who developed techniques of projecting the nation's business climate, died yesterday in the Orleans Nursing and Convalescent Center in Orleans, Mass. He was 95 years old and lived in Truro, Mass.

He died of congestive heart failure, a family spokesman said.

Dr. Keezer, a pragmatic economist. gained worldwide attention while he was with the McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, which he had joined in 1945. He created the department of economics there and developed annual surveys of capital spending and of research and development expenditures by many of the nation's leading businesses.

The annual surveys, which were begun in 1948, were used as indicators of the nation's potential for economic prosperity. With some adjustments for historical experience they were also used for forecasting the business climate, said Douglas Greenwald, who became manager of economic services at McGraw-Hill when Dr. Keezer retired in 1960.

Dr. Keezer, who had been a vice president at McGraw-Hill, remained with the company as an economic adviser until 1971.

"He was the No. 1 person in the business economics field," Mr. Greenwald said. Active in Civic Affairs

In retirement Dr. Keezer became involved in civic affairs in Truro, on Cape Cod. He was president of the Truro Neighborhood Association and in the mid-1970's campaigned against nude bathing at Brush Hollow Beach. He also served as Truro's representative to the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission and was a supporter of the Truro Conservation Trust.

Dexter Merriam Keezer was born Aug. 24, 1895, in Acton, Mass. He had been a teacher, journalist and government official before being named president of Reed College in Portland, Ore., in 1934. He was then one of the youngest college presidents in the nation. Previously, he had been a reporter at The Denver Times and at the Washington bureau of Scripps-Howard newspapers and, from 1929 to 1933, associate editor of The Baltimore Sun.

Dr. Keezer graduated from Amherst College in 1920, from Cornell University in 1923 and received a Ph.D. in 1925 from Brookings Graduate School of Economics and Government. He served in an Army machine-gun battalion in World War I and taught at Cornell, the University of Colorado, the University of North Carolina and Dartmouth College.

He was an expert on consumer problems and was executive director of the Consumer Advisory Board of the National Recovery Administration in 1933-34. Service in Various Posts

After leaving Reed College in 1942, he returned to Washington to serve as deputy administrator of the Office of Price Administration. He was also a member of the National Advisory Committee of the National Youth Administration, served as an economic adviser at the United States Embassy in London and was a member of the War Labor Board and of the Emergency Mediation Board.

He was the author or editor of several books, including "Are We Slaves of Some Defunct Economist" and "The Light That Flickers: A View of College Education Which Contrasts Promise and Performance and Suggests Improvements." He was the co-author of "New Forces in American Business" and "Making Capitalism Work."

He was also a director of the American National Theater and Academy and was a trustee of Elmira College.

He is survived by his wife, Anne; two daughters, Anne Read of Washington, and Berthe Ladd of Dover, Mass.; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A version of this obituary appears in print on June 25, 1991, on Page D00024 of the National edition with the headline: Dexter M. Keezer Is Dead at 95; Economist Gauged U.S. Outlook.

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Reed College | President's Office

Dexter Merriam Keezer


Born on August 24, 1885, in Acton, Massachusetts
Died on June 26, 1991, in Orleans, Massachusetts

Keezer.REED COLLEGE“The proper position on fly versus egg fishing is that no civilized citizen uses a salmon egg,” wrote Reed’s fourth president, Dexter M. Keezer, in a letter to the Oregonian in 1939.

Keezer's love of fishing was well known at Reed, as was his concern for a well-rounded—and civilized—citizenry. While his academic vision for Reed differed from the faculty’s, Keezer worked on behalf of the social welfare of students during his presidency, attempting to complement a rigorous academic and intellectual life with social and recreational activities. This—and his love of the outdoors—was perhaps the impetus behind his approval of the construction of the Reed College ski cabin on the flanks of Mount Hood.

Before coming to Reed in 1934, Keezer worked as an educator, journalist, and New-Dealer economist. He served in an Army machine-gun battalion in World War I and taught at Cornell, the University of Colorado, the University of North Carolina, and Dartmouth College. He graduated from Amherst College in 1920 and earned an M.A. from Cornell University in 1923 and a Ph.D. from the Brookings Graduate School of Economics and Government in 1925.

When he left Reed in 1942, he returned to the East Coast and worked for the government on behalf of the war effort. In 1945, Keezer joined the McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, where he gained worldwide attention for developing annual surveys of capital spending and of research and development expenditures by many of the nation's leading businesses. He retired from McGraw-Hill as vice president in 1960.


Anne and Dexter Keezer

Anne Keezer Read


Keezer Fund Members

Betty Bingham, Madelyn Cordeiro, Diane Ross, Sallie Tighe, Mary Abt, Mary Rose, Ansel Chaplin, Nancy Winslow, Linda Macara