Arthur J. Altmeyer

classic photo of Altmeyer

Arthur J. Altmeyer is one of the most important figures in the history of Social Security. President Franklin Roosevelt called him "Mr. Social Security." (See our special section, The Works of Arthur Altmeyer.) Altmeyer gave a series of four oral history interviews during 1965-1967. He was 76 years old by the time of his final interview. These interviews are noteworthy for the perspective they offer on both the legislative and administrative histories of Social Security, from the eye-witness perspective of a key insider. They are also quite revealing as well of the character of personality of Mr. Altmeyer. This set of interviews is among the most important in SSA's oral history archives.

The Interviews:
 Interview # 2 - 3/23/66 in Washington, D.C.
 Interview # 3 - 9/14/66 in Washington, D.C.
 Interview # 4- 6/29/67 in Madison, Wisconsin

Soundclips from the Altmeyer interviews

The tapes of Mr. Altmeyer's interviews were recorded on reel-to-reel tapes in 1965-1967. Copies of the original tapes of three of the interviews are still in the Archives at SSA. We have recently completed copying the old tapes onto modern cassette tapes (to preserve them). Because of the importance of these interviews, we are making extended excerpts available (in RealAudio format). Listeners should be advised, however, that the audio recordings are not considered to be the official record of the interviews. The final edited and printed transcripts (reproduced above) are the only authoritative source documents. The recordings are made available only for their historical interest and should not be directly quoted or cited.

Interview # 1 - 9/3/65 in Washington, D.C.
(Main Topics: Early work of the Committee on Economic Security, and a key issue in the debate about unemployment insurance.)
Interview # 2 - 3/23/66 in Washington, D.C.(Main Topic: Wagner-Murray-Dingell bill and early efforts to promote health insurance under Social Security, including roles and views of FDR and Truman.)
Interview # 4- 6/29/67 in Madison, Wisconsin
(Main Topic: Early influences on the development of the Social Security Act of 1935.)