HENRY WHITCOMB SWEENEY
By A. N. Mosich University of Southern California
Henry Whitcomb Sweeney made significant contributions to both the academic and professional segments of accounting. Although his most famous work is in price-level accounting, his writings also embraced accounting theory, taxation, cost accounting, govern-ment contract accounting and auditing. His achievements as an ac-countant, professor, author, lawyer, and public servant have been an inspiration to many. Sweeney's distinguished career included serv-ice as Pentagon aide in 1951-53 and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in 1964-65.
Sweeney was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on September 12,1898, and died on September 1, 1967. He attended Amherst Col-lege and received B.A. (1919), B.S. (1920), M.S. (1921), M.A. (1924), Ph.D. (1936) and LL.M. (1960) degrees from Columbia University. He also earned the LL.B. degree from Georgetown University in 1940.
In 1924, at the age of 26, he chose accounting valuation for his doctoral dissertation topic under the guidance of Professor Roy B. Kester. The requirements for his dissertation would cause many current doctoral students to wince—the dissertation had to be an original contribution to knowledge, be published, and prove prac-tical in application.
In 1925 he accepted a position on the audit staff of Price Water-house & Co. in New York City where he worked until 1935. Prior to this time he was learning and teaching. He became a CPA and while teaching at the University of Wisconsin had written Bookkeeping and introductory Accounting, published by McGraw-Hill Book Com-pany in 1924.
In May 1927, he submitted the first draft of Stabilized Accounting, about 400 typewritten pages, in a nation-wide Economics Contest and won the $500 prize. A condition of the award was that it had to be ready for publication within two years. Sweeney let the prize lapse so he could continue to improve his work. Early in 1933 he
The assistance of Professor D. Y. Causey, Jr., Florida Technological University, is gratefully acknowledged.