Born on June 10, 1891, Rexford G. Tugwell grew up in Sinclairville and Wilson, NY. Tugwell’s father was a farmer and a cannery owner. Tugwell attended the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees. After completing his studies at UPenn, Tugwell taught economics at UPenn, the University of Washington, and Columbia University.
While at Columbia University, Tugwell became a member of the “brain trust” - a group known as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s inner circle of advisors. Roosevelt was then governor of NY. This group initially helped Roosevelt plan his campaign to become the president of the United States and later advised him on issues during his presidency.
In 1933, Tugwell moved to Washington, DC, where he began working for the United States Department of Agriculture. After serving as the assistant secretary of Agriculture, Tugwell became the head of the Resettlement Administration.
Tugwell strongly believed in government economic planning. While at the Resettlement Administration, he worked on many New Deal programs, such as tax reform, relief public works, and federally planned communities. Tugwell is connected to Greenbelt, MD through his instrumental work with the Greenbelt Towns program. While he was head of the Resettlement Administration, he dedicated much of his time in the creation and development of the Greenbelt Towns project.