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Hogan Steel Archive: Fordham's Steel Priest

The “Hogan Steel Archive,” representing a three-year collaborative effort of the Walsh Library’s Department of Archives and Special Collections and Fordham’s Industrial Economics Research Institute, commemorates and preserves the remarkable steel legacy

Growing Up

Born in the South Bronx on April 30, 1919 , William Thomas Hogan was a product of the Bronx public schools, P.S. 72 and James Monroe High. During the Depression, he delivered The Bronx Home News to help support his family and then pay his tuition at Fordham, where he would graduate college cum laude and eventually earn an M.A. in economics and, after becoming a member of the Society of Jesus, a Ph.D.

Father Hogan testifies at a Commerce Department Hearing in 1976 (U.S. Dept. of Commerce)

Early Years

In the late 1940’s, his doctoral studies took him to Pittsburgh, then the nation’s and the world’s steel capital, where he lived at Duquesne University and worked at United States Steel Corporation in researching his dissertation on steel productivity. It was the first detailed study on the subject ever made, and his methods of productivity measurement were adopted by the U.S. Department of Labor and were detailed in his first book, Productivity in the Blast-Furnace and Open-Hearth Segments of the Steel Industry. Published in 1950, the book would forever identify Father Hogan with steel.

Teaching

Over the years, both at Fordham and as a visiting professor at Penn State, Purdue, and Loyola, Father Hogan taught about the interdependence of the steel, automobile, railroad, petroleum, and utility industries and kept his course content current by means of research conducted by the Industrial Economics Research Institute, often with the participation of student interns, who were able to learn first hand just how basic heavy industry functions. Much of the Institute’s research demonstrated the pivotal role of the steel industry as a catalyst for economic development, and throughout his career, Father used his knowledge and worked tirelessly to foster international cooperation and understanding in the steel business, gaining his worldwide reputation as the “Steel Priest.”

Presidential and Congressional Involvement

From the late 1950’s through the early 1970’s, Father devoted considerable time and effort to studying the economic impact of the depreciation-tax laws on steel and other industries that rely on long-lived equipment, emphasizing the need for reforms to spur capital investment. He was instrumental in achieving passage of the investment-tax credit and other reforms proposed by President Kennedy, testifying on the subject on numerous occasions before legislative committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. In 1962 and 1967 he published his third and fourth books, Depreciation Reform and Capital Replacement and Depreciation Policies and Resultant Problems

In the late 1960’s, he served as a member of President Nixon’s Task Force on Business Taxation and was a consultant to the Council of Economic Advisors to the President. In all, he counseled five U.S. presidents on tax and steel matters and served as an advisor to many federal, state and local government agencies.