As the scope of the current financial crisis dwarfs the recession of 1991, public retirement systems face momentous pressures. In a number of cases, the roots of these funding problems can be traced to actions taken during the recession 18 years earlier. This study of the New Hampshire Retirement System chronicles a series of events in 1991-92 which led to a $2.4 billion unfunded liability by 2007. The study depicts trustees, legislators and stakeholders in crisis. Transcripts and interviews give readers an inside view of a struggle to adhere to fiduciary duty in the face of relentless political pressure. Events in New Hampshire during the recession of 1991 were not unique; researchers found that a number of states sought to balance budgets by reducing pension contributions during that period. This study sets New Hampshire’s experience in the context of those findings as it portrays a system of pension governance under stress. Now, the impending retirement of the Baby Boomers coincides with a global financial crisis. This examination of the past may serve to inform the present, as public pension systems face the challenges ahead.