Frank Taylor Ostrander, Jr. was born in Pittsburgh, Penn. on November 1, 1910. The family moved to White Plains, New York in 1916, and then to Scarsdale in 1926. Ostrander's mother taught singers for many years, and although he never took lessons from her and sometimes even tried to disrupt her lessons, his later interest in music shows how important his mother's career had been to him. After attending the Hackley School in Tarrytown, he went on to Williams College.
While at Williams, Ostrander was a member of Sigma Phi, the Philosophical Union, Adelphic Union, and the Williams Outing Club. A founding member of the Liberal Club in his sophomore year, he served as Vice President for the club in his senior year. He was also an officer of the International Affairs Club, and, after Junior year, he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
That same summer, the summer of 1931, he received a scholarship from the Institute of World Affairs, allowing him to study at the Geneva School of International Studies for the summer. Before going to school in Geneva, he traveled Europe and explored, among other things, the architecture of many churches and cathedrals. It was there that he first discovered the a cappella singing in Russian Orthodox churches, and it became a lifelong interest of his. In the spring of 1932, he graduated from Williams, magna cum laude, with honors in economics.
Immediately following his graduation, Ostrander taught at the Williams College Institute of Politics, but the position only lasted for a year, and he went on to graduate study in economics at Oxford University, on the Henry Fellowship.
Ostrander's time at Oxford, although only a year, allowed him to widen his experiences. It was at Oxford that he took part in college athletics for the first time, rowing with the "Queen's eight." He also began singing with the Queen's Choral Society at Oxford, and enjoyed it greatly. During the years he was at school his musical knowledge expanded greatly, and according to his friends, you might think he was studying music rather than economics.
Ostrander traveled around Europe a great deal, both for pleasure during his time at Oxford, and later, for work. He has many fond memories of these visits- including a rather amusing tale in which he and some friends mistakenly joined a demonstration of the French right-wing Royalists against debts to the USA. Thankfully, they were not recognized as Americans during this protest, and he continued his visit in Paris without accident.
In 1933, he returned to the US to continue his studies in economics at the University of Chicago, this time at the doctoral level. Although he was twice awarded University Fellowships, he declined them, first to teach economics and economic history at Williams College, and then to go Washington, where he began a long and successful career with the government.
He served the US Government for almost twenty years, in various capacities. He started off in the Treasury Department, where he served as an advisor to the Bureau of Customs and performed duty investigations in Italy and Germany, among other tasks. He then moved on to the War Production Board and then to the War Shipping Administration and Alien Property Custodian.
In January of 1943, Ostrander left the government to serve, briefly, as economic consultant at the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co., before returning to government employment once more. This time he served as an intelligence officer in the Foreign Economic Administration, based in London. From there he went to Frankfurt, Germany as a member of the Field Intelligence Agency, and then on to Berlin as a member of the economic division of the Office of Military Government of Germany.
In 1948, Ostrander was transferred to Paris as a Foreign Service Reserve officer, to work on the Marshall Plan. There, he served in the Office of the US Special Representative for Europe, Economic Cooperation Administration for 5 years. Ostrander began as the "German-Austrian desk" for the Program Division, and moved on to become director of that division. For several years, he served as a member of the US Delegation to the OEEC and the US Mission to NATO.
In 1953, Ostrander returned to the US, and also to civilian life. He worked for almost thirty years at American Metal Climax, Inc. (AMAX Inc.). There, he worked on the new business committee, created summaries, histories, and annual reports for the company, and was the Assistant to the Chairman for 23 years. He eventually became the President of the AMAX Foundation, in charge of charitable, educational, and public affairs work across the country.
While at AMAX, Ostrander developed quite an interest in the economic and political state of South Africa, becoming essentially, the "Africa Desk" for the company. He made more than 20 trips to Africa, where he was able to observe, firsthand, the transition from colonial control to African self-government. He became well acquainted with leaders in economic and political areas, and was made director of various committees and companies in Botswana and Zambia. He also wrote and lectured about Africa both in the US and abroad.
In 1960, he was invited to take part in Kennedy's Task Force on Africa. He created and served with the African-American Chamber of Commerce in New York, and helped to administer scholarships to hundreds of African college students coming to study in America. In further efforts to promote inter-racial understanding, he worked with a leader exchange program that brought African educators, judges, ministers and government workers to the US, and sent US leaders to South Africa.
Over the course of his career, Ostrander served on numerous committees and international associations for trade and commerce. Although he retired in 1980, he remained a consultant for AMAX and the Joint Economic Committee for several years. He taught for several years following his retirement, first at Pace University Graduate School of Business, then at the Academy of International Business, and the University of New Haven Executive MBA program.
After retiring from teaching, Ostrander returned to Williamstown, MA, where he remained excited and interested in the affairs of his alma mater, Williams College, and wrote his memoirs.