Margaret Garritsen deVries, 87

Margaret Garritsen deVries, 87; IMF economist and historian

Margaret Garritsen deVries
Margaret Garritsen deVries (Family Photo - Family Photo)
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Friday, January 1, 2010

Margaret Garritsen deVries, 87, an economist and historian at the International Monetary Fund, died of pneumonia Dec. 18 at Suburban Hospital. She lived in Bethesda.

Dr. deVries was among the first employees hired by the IMF, joining it as an economist in 1946. She represented the agency on missions to Mexico, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Turkey, Israel, Yugoslavia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

She was appointed assistant chief of the multiple exchange rate division in 1953 and chief of the Far East division in 1957. She resigned in 1959 to care for her two young children, but she rejoined the IMF in 1963 to help write the history of the agency's first 20 years. In 1973, she was appointed the IMF's official historian, a post she held until retiring in 1987.

She wrote a number of books, including "International Monetary Fund, 1966-71" (two volumes), "International Monetary Fund, 1972-1978" (three volumes), "Balance of Payments Adjustment, 1945 to 1986: The IMF Experience" and "The IMF in a Changing World, 1945-85." She also co-wrote "The International Monetary Fund, 1945-1965" (three volumes) and "Foreign Economic Problems of the United States."

Dr. deVries taught economics at George Washington University in the late 1940s and early 1960s. She continued to write in retirement, including a regular column in the IMF retirees association newsletter.

Margaret Garritsen was born in Detroit and graduated from the University of Michigan as an American Association of University Women scholar, and she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She received a doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1946.

She was named Outstanding Washington Woman Economist by Washington Women Economists in 1987, and she received the 2003 Carolyn Shaw Bell Award of the American Economics Association. She was a member of Bethesda United Church of Christ.

Survivors include her husband of 57 years, Dr. Barend A. deVries of Bethesda; two children, Christine M. deVries of Bethesda and Barton G. deVries of Antler, Okla.; two sisters; a brother; and two granddaughters.

-- Patricia Sullivan

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