Tucked away in the far corner of the second floor sits the Milton and Rose Friedman Reading Room. Housing the Friedmans’ private library, this open space is an inviting area where anyone is free to study and enjoy the donations by the Friedmans. Large windows give beautiful natural light to all of the Friedmans’ belongings. Sitting in this area, you are reminded of the life and accomplishments of one of America’s leading economists of the 20th century.
Milton Friedman changed the way people viewed the economy. He was responsible for what is now called monetarism, the theory or practice of controlling the supply of money as the chief method of stabilizing the economy, which replaced the post-war Keynesian understanding of the causes and cures of inflation and unemployment. With Milton’s help, public opinion in the US moved away from reliance on government ownership, control, and regulations and transitioned into supporting a free market economy.
On display, along with their collection of books, is Milton’s doctoral robe from Columbia University, where he received his Ph.D. As he was an author of countless books and articles, many of his books are on display, including his most notable book, A Monetary History of the United States. Another piece you will see while visiting the reading room is a beautiful award in the shape of a glass eagle, the 2001 James U. Blanchard III Freedom Award, honored to Milton and Rose. The award was given to them for their efforts to promote individual and economic freedom.
The Friedmans were incredibly influential people in the economic world. Without them, economics would not be what they are today. Now, their private memorabilia rests within the walls of this library. I find that so exciting that a couple of such influences have entrusted our university with things such as their private library. If you ever need a place to study in the library, the Milton and Rose Friedman Reading Room is a great place to go.