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BEP Directors

William M. Meredith Portrait

William M. Meredith

Life: (1835 - 1917)
Chief, Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Years in Office: 1889-1893

William Meredith was born in Centreville, Indiana.  He attended school, including a year in college, but left to work in his father’s printing office.  Meredith went on to work at the Indianapolis Journal newspaper.  At the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Army but shortly afterwards he was appointed by the Indiana governor to the military post of state commissary-general.  Later, in 1862, Meredith formed a company of volunteers made up mostly of printers and was selected as its captain.  He served with the company until 1864 when he was discharged for service-related injuries.  After the war, Meredith worked as a printer in several cities, becoming foreman at newspapers in Indianapolis and St. Louis.  In 1875, he began work at the Western Bank Note Company in Chicago as superintendent of plate printing.  He was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in 1889 largely through his association with President Benjamin Harrison, under whom Meredith had served in the Army during the Civil War.  After leaving the BEP in 1893, he returned to the Western Bank Note Company.  He was appointed Chief of the BEP a second time in 1900, making Meredith the only person to hold the top position twice.  He left the BEP in 1906, assuming another position within the Treasury Department, where he remained until his death at age 82.