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Herbert H. Lehman: Wikis


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Herbert Henry Lehman

In office
January 3, 1950 – January 3, 1957
Preceded by John Foster Dulles
Succeeded by Jacob K. Javits

In office
January 1, 1933 – December 3, 1942
Lieutenant M. William Bray (1933-1938)
Charles Poletti
Preceded by Franklin D. Roosevelt
Succeeded by Charles Poletti

In office
January 1, 1929 – December 31, 1932
Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded by Edwin Corning
Succeeded by M. William Bray

In office
1943 – 1946
Preceded by none
Succeeded by Fiorello H. La Guardia

Born March 28, 1878(1878-03-28)
New York City, New York
Died December 5, 1963 (aged 85)
Political party Democratic
Religion Jewish

Herbert Henry Lehman (March 28, 1878 - December 5, 1963) was a Democratic Party politician from New York. He was the 45th Governor of New York from 1933 to 1942, and represented New York in the United States Senate from 1950 to 1957.




Lehman Brothers

Lehman, born in New York City in 1878, was the son of Ashkenazi immigrant Mayer Lehman, one of the three founders of the Lehman Brothers investment banking firm. Herbert Lehman attended what is now The Dwight School. A graduate of Williams College (Class of 1899), he became a partner of Lehman Brothers with his brother Arthur and cousin Philip in 1908.[1]

Military and family

Lehman married Edith Louise Altschul in 1910. Herbert Lehman became a colonel in the U.S. Army during World War I.

The couple had three children, Hilda, Peter, and John. All three served in the United States Military during World War II; Peter was killed while on active duty.[1]


Lehman became active in politics in 1920, and became Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Democratic Party in 1928,[2] as a reward for being a strong supporter of Alfred E. Smith. He was elected Lieutenant Governor of New York in 1928 and 1930, and resigned from Lehman Brothers upon taking office. He then served four terms as Governor of New York from 1933 and 1942, elected in 1932, 1934, 1936 and 1938. Unlike Smith, Lehman was a supporter of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "New Deal" policies and implemented a program in the same spirit in New York.

On December 3, 1942, he resigned the governorship less than a month before the end of his term to accept an appointment as Director of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations for the United States Department of State. He served as Director-General of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration from 1943 to 1946.[2]

Herbert Lehman was the Democratic Nominee for U.S. Senator from New York in 1946 and also ran on the Liberal and American Labor tickets, but was defeated by the Republican candidate Irving Ives. In 1949, he ran again, this time in a special election to serve the remainder of Robert F. Wagner's term. Lehman defeated John Foster Dulles, who had been appointed to fill the vacancy temporarily after Wagner's resignation, and took his seat on January 3, 1950.[3] In this campaign he ran on the Democratic and Liberal tickets, with the American Labor Party urging their members not to vote for any candidate. In 1950, he was re-elected to a full term running on the Democratic and Liberal lines and opposed by the American Labor Party.[2]

Lehman was one of two senators who was opposed to nominating Mississippi Senator James O. Eastland to be Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. (The other was Wayne L. Morse of Oregon.) He was also an early and vocal opponent of Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.). Lehman was one of the most liberal Senators and not considered part of the Senate "club" of insiders. He retired from the Senate after his full term, and was not a candidate for renomination or reelection in 1956.[4]

After his retirement from the Senate, Lehman remained politically active, working with Eleanor Roosevelt and Thomas K. Finletter in the late 1950s and early 1960s to support the reform Democratic movement in Manhattan that eventually defeated longtime Tammany Hall boss Carmine DeSapio.

Among other activities after his retirement from the Senate, he founded the Lehman Children's Zoo (now the Tisch Zoo) in Central Park, which declared that "No Adult Will Be Admitted unless Accompanied by a Child."

Lehman was the first, and until the 2007 inauguration of Eliot Spitzer, the only Jewish Governor of New York.[5] During much of his Senate career, he was the only Jew in the Senate as well. Unlike most of his Jewish constituents, who came from Eastern Europe, Lehman's family was from Germany.



  1. ^ a b "Life and Legacy of Herbert H. Lehman". Lehman Suite.  
  2. ^ a b c d The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers. "Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site: Herbert Lehman (1928–1956)". Teaching Eleanor Roosevelt. Retrieved 2005-11-07.  
  3. ^ Congress History, 81st U.S. Congress
  4. ^ "LEHMAN, Herbert Henry, (1878–1963)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2005-11-09.  
  5. ^ Moss, Mitchell (1994-02-04). "The Vanishing Jew". Forward. Retrieved 2005-11-07.  
  6. ^ (Kensico Cemetery). "Historic & Scenic Tour: Herbert H. Lehman". Retrieved 2005-11-07.  
  7. ^ Office of Media Relations & Publications of Lehman College (2005-09-26). "Remembering the Legacy of Herbert H. Lehman". Lehman E-News. Retrieved 2005-11-05.  
  8. ^ Gerber, David Paul and Wayne Whitehorne (December 2004). "Staten Island Ferry". Station Reporter. Retrieved 2005-11-07.  

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Edwin Corning
Lieutenant Governor of New York
Succeeded by
M. William Bray
Preceded by
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Governor of New York
Succeeded by
Charles Poletti
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
None; first in line
Director General of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration
Succeeded by
Fiorello H. La Guardia
Party political offices
Preceded by
James M. Mead
Democratic Nominee for U.S. Senate from New York (Class 1)
Succeeded by
John Cashmore
United States Senate
Preceded by
John Foster Dulles
United States Senator (Class 3) from New York
Served alongside: Irving Ives
Succeeded by
Jacob K. Javits


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