Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

Kohler, Eric Louis, 1892-1976



  • Existence: 1892 - 1976

Eric Louis Kohler was Born July 9, 1892, in Owosso, Michigan. He received his A.B. from the University of Michigan in 1914, and took his M.A. (Liberal Arts) at Northwestern in 1915 with a thesis entitled “Regulation of Security Issues by the Public Service Commission of New York (First District)”.

During World War I Kohler served from May 15, 1917, through November 30, 1918, as an officer in the Quartermaster Corps; commissioned a 1st Lieutenant; he was promoted to Captain, Nov., 1918.

Kohler had a varied career as an accountant with Arthur Andersen and Company (1915-1917; 1919-1920; and 1933-1937), as head of his own accounting firm (1922-1933), and in government service. In the latter capacity he served as comptroller of the Tennessee Valley Authority (1938-41), worked with the Office of Emergency Management and the War Production Board (1941-1942), was the executive officer for Petroleum Administration for War (1942-1944), and served as controller of the European Relief Commission (1948-1949). After World War II Kohler worked primarily as a consulting accountant.

In 1915 Kohler was appointed as an assistant in accounting at the Northwestern University School of Commerce; he became an instructor in 1916, an assistant professor in 1918, an associate professor in 1919, and a professor in 1922. He left Northwestern in 1927, serving later as a visiting professor at the universities if Minnesota, Chicago, and Illinois, and at The Ohio State University.

A prolific author, Kohler wrote six books, was co-author of three others, and wrote many Journal articles. His Dictionary for Accountants went through five editions. From 1928 to 1944 he served as editor of the Accounting Review.

Kohler had a deep interest in ethics and standards for accounting, as well as in education and terminology. He also established and developed the concept of activity accounting.

In 1961 Kohler was elected to the Accounting Hall of Fame. The American Accounting Association twice elected him president (1936 and 1946) and Alpha Kappa Psi presented an award to him in 1958.

Never married, Kohler died in Chicago on February 20, 1976.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Eric L. Kohler (1892-1976) Papers

Identifier: 12/1/9
Abstract Eric L. Kohler was a professor of accounting at Northwestern University, author of Dictionary for Accountants, longtime editor of Accounting Review, and originator of the concept of activity accounting. The Eric L. Kohler Papers fill 15 boxes and are arranged in six subseries: correspondence, teaching files, consulting files, professional organization files, speeches, and publications.