One of Norwood’s most distinguished citizens, Dr. Frederick Albert Cleveland, P.H.B., Ph.D., passed away at 2:10 o’clock Saturday morning at the Norwood Hospital. He was in his 81st year.

Friends and townsmen appreciative of Dr. Cleveland’s work in this community paid tribute to his memory at services held Monday afternoon at 3 o’clock at the May Funeral Parlors on Nichols street. Rev William F English of the First Congregational Church conducted the service, and Mrs. Muriel Brock officiated at the organ Burial was in the family lot at Woodlawn cemetery. West Philadelphia.

Dr. F. A. Cleveland was a nationally and internationally known economist and author. Since 1917 he has devoted most of his time and interests to projects and problems in the Norwood area The exception was the six and a half years he served in Pieping China as director of the immense and vital Salt Tax of the Chinese Government.

Dr. Cleveland’s most significant contributions to civilization were the following:

  • 1908 to 1910—Setting up the first budget for the United States Government at Washington D. C. under President Taft
  • 1935 to 1941—Collecting and administering the Salt Tax for the Chinese government. Tins tax brought millions of dollars into the Chinese treasury
  • 1936 to 1944—Mcmbor of committees of the Town of Norwood on the Henry O, Peabody Fund, and spearhead of the long fight which had to be waged to bring the Peabody Fund back to Norwood, to which it had been willed, and to set up the plan for the present Peabody vocational school This was the capstone service which topped ofT nine strenuous years as Chairman of the Norwood School Committee (1920-1929)

Born in Sterling. IL March 17. 1865, he was the son of William A. and Mary T. Cleveland. He was a graduate of DePaul University In 1890. Between 1891 and 1396 he practiced Jaw.

He was a fellow of the University of Chicago 1897-99. and received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1900.

Long a leader in budget reform, his first work in this direction was in 1900 when New York philanthropists appointed him to organize a committee inquiring into the misuse of public funds.
As a result of his work, Mayor McLellan, in 1904. appointed him head of a committee on finance, administration, and accounting for the city of New York.

The Mayor’s commission, at loggerheads with Tammany, broke up shortly after its establishment and Professor Cleveland, who was also teaching in New York University, together with R. Fulton Cutting and John P Mitchell, organized a Bureau of Municipal Research. This operated on S80,000 a year and helped to expose the shady dealings of New York borough heads.

Dr. Cleveland was appointed, in 1910. to head the President’s inquiry into methods of business in the United States Government and was chairman of President Taft’s Commission on Economy and Efficiency from 1911-13. In 1913 he was in charge of staff inquiry Into the methods of the United States Customs Service in New York, and in 1914 was appointed head of the United States Senate committee of inquiry into the administration of Indian affairs.

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In 1919 he accepted the chair of United States citizenship under the Maxwell Foundation at Boston University. He continued there until in 1929, he was given a long leave of absence as a member of a special American commission to aid in the establishment of a stable government in China.

The most important phase of his work in China came in 1931 when he was appointed chief inspector of the Chinese Government’s salt monopoly. His report on the seizure of Chinese salt funds in Manchuria caused a protest at the League of Nations. In 1937 he was decorated with the Emblem of the Order oil Blue Jade.

In 1936. Dr. Cleveland returned to his teaching post at Boston University. where he continued until his retirement in the spring of 1939.

Professor Cleveland was the author of 15 books on economics and government including Growth of Democracy in the U. S.; The Bank and Treasury. Organized Democracy, Democracy in Reconstruction, American Citizenship, Modern Scientific Knowledge, and Organized Scientific Knowledge.


Since Dr. Cleveland has been a key man in every worthwhile civic project in Norwood since 1917, when he was introduced to the town by George F. Willett, it is town by George F. Willett, it is impossible, in this limited space, to do more than list his various Norwood professional services. It is fortunate that there exists a complete record of these, made not long ago. It is as follows:

Services paid for:

  • Survey and report on slum conditions in South Norwood (1917)
  • New Charter Proposal for Norwood (1917)

Services performed gratuitously:

  • Chairman of the Trustees of the Norwood Civic Association (1917 to 1927); ten-year service
  • Chairman of the school Committee (1920- 1929) (three successive terms); 19 years service
  • Member of the first special committee of the Town on H. O. Peabody Fund (1921-1928), 7 years service
  • Member of the Advisory Committee on Park and Playgrounds (1924-28): 8 years service
  • Member of the Senior High School building committee (1924- 28) 3 years service
  • Member of committee advisory to Selectmen on the improvement of Neponset River (1935-44) 8 years service. (Note—: In this period Dr. C. spent 6 1/2 years in China.)

The rest of the list covers Dr. Cleveland’s task, the lion’s share of which advised public opinion freely and gratefully admits, was performed by the Doctor’s knowledge and experience, of blasting the money of the Peabody Fund away from the Peabody Fund Trustees and into the vocational School for Girls in Norwood for which it was originally left by Henry Peabody about 1895.

  • “Request on liaison by Judge James A. Halloran, moderator, that Frederick A. Cleveland undertake to prepare an acceptable plan wherein despite the “anti-aid” laws, the Peabody School for Girls be located in Norwood (1936)
  • One year service Chairman of the Second special committee of the town on the H O. Peabody Fund (1937-44 ). seven years service
  • Chairman of the Peabody School Building Committee (1940-44). four years service


So much for Dr. Cleveland’s local achievements. Dr. Cleveland’s contributions to the nation and the world are summarized in the following digest appearing in “Who’s Who” some years ago, previous to his China adventure.

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“FREDERICK ALBERT CLEVELAND. economist, b Sterling. Ill March 17. 1865. son of William A and Mary T. Cleveland Ph.B. DePaul U. 1890: studied law 1890-91- practiced law 1891-96; Fellow U of Chicago 1897-99. Ph.D U of Pa.. 1900. m Jessica England Lindsay of Phil July 17. 1902; Instructor U. of Pa., 1900-3, Prof, Finance School of Commerce, Accounts and Finance of N. Y. U., 1903-5: Member of the commission appointed by Mayor McClellan to investigate finances of N Y. City, 1905: member commission on hospital finances and needs of N. Y., I90G, Director of Bureau of business and municipal research in N Y. and Phil since 1906; member commission for the revision of accounts and methods. N Y, 1908 to 1910: In charge of President’s Taft inquiry into methods of business of U S Gov., 1910. Chairman of Pres. Taft’s commission for economy and Efficiency, 1911-13: Chief of staff, inquiry into Indian service and methods of N Y. Customs House, 1914: inquire into state and municipal gov. 1915; director of studies of administration, publicity by Inst, of Gov. Research, 1916-17: sec. Industrial Service 5: Equipment Co. 1917: staff war work. 1918; Chair of United States Citizenship. Maxwell Foundation, Boston Univ. 1919; Author of more than a dozen books on economics, accounting, civics, promoting, and general finance.”

Although Dr. Cleveland will undoubtedly be remembered with increasing clarity in Norwood history as the years roll by for his yeoman service in the local school system, as a member of the School Board (already called the best school committee member the town ever had), and as the man who made the Peabody Vocational School a possibility, there is one service which he performed for the town which few know of. Perhaps this is the right place to record it.

About 1919. the Doctor and Mrs. Cleveland selected their first Norwood residence. It was the home of the late Arthur Partridge at 70 Winter street, now owned by Charles E. Houghton who purchased it from Dr. Cleveland. Here the Clevelands, with their son, Lindsey, lived a happy life with their flowers and books and the Doctor’s many friends from Boston University, where he was a member of the Faculty. But towards the end of this decade, lovely and gentle Mrs. Cleveland was stricken with a serious disease. Eventually, Dr. Cleveland knew that she could never survive it and that the end was not far away. Wrapped up in his happy home life as he had been he was under a terrific mental strain.

Now behind his residence at that lime was what was left of the old Hoyle estate, which the town had purchased for the Junior High School and the laying-out of Bond street. It was in its original cow-pasture condition—overgrown with brush and unkept trees and dotted with great boulders and hundreds of smaller rocks. It was an eyesore which the town gave no indication of removing or improving despite efforts of abutting property holders to remedy by appeal to the Selectmen.

As a distraction from his great trouble, Dr. Cleveland determined to tackle this uncouth tract single-handed and to make it presentable. Week after week, month after month. the Doctor swung a grub hoe, dug out rocks, raked rubbish, cut down trees and bushes, and pulled stumps. He would labor until he was completely exhausted and could only make his way into his house to sleep, perhaps, the slumber of utter weariness At about this time he took over the nursery property of Fred Rea on Pleasant street. From this, he carted evergreens, shade trees, and fine shrubs which he planted in the Bond street land. On the Walpole street end he built an outdoor theatre, with a gentle hill for the audience to sit upon. This he hoped the High School would use. It never has done so. Towards the end shortly before Mrs. Cleveland passed away, the town grudgingly gave Dr. Cleveland the use of a tip-cart and horse. And at the end, Dr. Cleveland left to the town a beautiful little park with lawns shaded by fine, trimmed trees and shrubs He quit it and his home without fanfare of trumpets or publicity agents. For him, they had served their purpose. And since that day the park has served the purpose of thousands of children both from the immediate neighborhood and from many others. as a recreation playground.

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