- Lehman, Herbert Henry
- (1878-1963)Herbert Lehman, New York’s longest-serving governor, began work in a textile company in 1899. By 1906, he had risen to vice president and treasurer of the company. In 1908, he joined his father’s investment banking company, Lehman Brothers. He worked for a number of charitable organizations, including the Joint Distribution Committee formed during World War I to aid Jews in Eastern Europe. During the war, Lehman served in the General Staff Corps in Washington, D.C., as a captain and was responsible for purchase and traffic.After the war, Lehman entered Democratic politics as a friend and associate of Alfred E. Smith and had various roles in Smith’s election campaigns in 1924 and 1928. Lehman became Franklin D. Roosevelt’s lieutenant governor in 1928, a position he held until 1932. In 1932, he was elected governor in his own right and was reelected in 1934 and 1936. In 1938, he was elected to the first four-year term in the same capacity. Under his direction, New York established a “little New Deal” of relief and recovery programs to alleviate the impact of the Great Depression, including unemployment insurance, minimum wages, and public housing. He resigned as governor in 1942 to become head of the Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations in the State Department. In 1943, the office became the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, and Lehman was chosen as director general. He held the position until his resignation in 1946.Unsuccessful in his bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1946, Lehman was elected in 1950, where he fought for liberal causes and opposed Senator Joseph McCarthy. He retired from the Senate in 1956.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.