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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bettina Greaves: A Stalwart of Liberty for Nearly a Century

A lifetime of dedication to free markets

Sixty-five years ago, in 1951, the FEE staff suddenly grew by three with the hiring of one young lady named Bettina Bien Greaves. At least it seemed that way for the next 50 years, during which she served tirelessly as a member of FEE’s full-time staff and then as a governing trustee.

Not even FEE’s late founder, Leonard E. Read, beats Bettina’s record for longevity in service to the Foundation for Economic Education.

After graduation from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, Bettina worked for a time as a secretary. She deployed her shorthand and typing skills during World War II in the mountains of Bolivia, and then in Vienna, working for the US government’s Foreign Economic Administration.

One of the first American civilian women in Austria after V-E Day, she remained there for a year to witness the start of Europe’s post-war revival. As Jim Powell explained in a tribute to her on the occasion of her 80th birthday in 1997, she and her late husband Percy attended seminars by Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises for twenty years. She “made herself into the world’s foremost Mises authority,” says Powell.

Bettina and Jim Powell.

Bettina resides now in Hickory, North Carolina, and stays in touch with us at FEE. She is recuperating currently from a recent fall and looking forward to celebrating her 99th birthday in July. “I read the Freeman regularly,” she noted a letter to me this January.

In honor of the 65th anniversary of her joining the staff, we are pleased to post a special page highlighting some of Bettina’s best articles for the Freeman. Topics range from her recollections of Mises, Henry Hazlitt, and Leonard Read to inflation, the New Deal, and the gold standard.

Thank you, Bettina, for your lifetime of dedication to free markets and to FEE, and early best wishes for your 99th. We wish you many more!

Left to right: Hans Sennholz, Bettina, and Ron Manners.

  • Lawrence W. Reed is FEE's President Emeritus, having previously served for nearly 11 years as FEE’s president (2008-2019). He is also FEE's Humphreys Family Senior Fellow and Ron Manners Global Ambassador for Liberty. His Facebook page is here and his personal website is