LEHMAN, HERBERT HENRY

LEHMAN, HERBERT HENRY (1878–1963), U.S. banker, politician, and statesman. Herbert Lehman attended Williams College and on his graduation in 1899 joined his father's firm (see lehman ), of which he became a full partner in 1908. His initiation into public service came during World War I, when he was commissioned as a captain in the War Department Ordnance bureau and rose to become a member of the War Claims Board with the rank of full colonel. Disappointed in his ambition to become assistant secretary of war in the Wilson administration, he resigned from the service in 1919 to return to his position with Lehman Brothers. In the course of several visits to Europe after the war, he was deeply moved by the devastation wrought to Jewish communities everywhere and subsequently helped found the american jewish joint distribution committee . He was also called upon during these years as an occasional mediator between labor and management in the garment industry, where he was an enthusiastic backer of unionization. Lehman returned to public life in 1924 to participate in the successful New York State gubernatorial campaign of his friend Alfred E. Smith. In 1926 he headed a citizen's committee for Smith's reelection and in 1928 he was active in Smith's successful campaign to gain the Democratic presidential nomination, for which he was rewarded with the chairmanship of the national finance committee of the Democratic Party. In October 1928 he was nominated to run for lieutenant governor of New York State on the ticket of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was elected governor by a narrow vote. As Roosevelt's right hand, Lehman proved to be an able politician and administrator. He was especially active in assisting Roosevelt with financial and budgetary problems, in improving the scope and caliber of the state's administration agencies and social services, particularly in the area of hospital and prison reform, and in dealing skillfully with a wide range of emergencies and labor crises. When Roosevelt went on to become president in 1932, Lehman was elected governor by an unprecedented plurality of close to a million votes over his Republican opponent. During his first term as governor, he struggled largely with financial and labor problems brought on by the Depression. Reelected for four more terms (1934, 1936, 1938, 1940), his administrations were marked by a systematic application of the New Deal in legislation for New York State. He strove to bring utilities under public control, sought to reapportion the state's legislative and congressional membership, and fought for a wide range of minimum wage, social security, and general welfare bills. Many of the measures he sponsored helped make New York one of the most socially progressive states in the Union. Lehman resigned the governorship in 1942 to become head of the newly formed United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, whose vast task was to minister to the war-torn civilian populations of the Axis-occupied areas reconquered by the Allies. While he worked with tremendous energy and devotion, the experience proved in many ways frustrating; the program was hampered by personality clashes, conflicts of national interest, and the emerging tensions of the cold war. He resigned from his position in March 1946 and turned his attention to the specific plight of Jewish refugees and to the situation in Palestine. Although then not a Zionist and opposed to the idea of a Jewish state, Lehman was sympathetic to the cause of free Jewish immigration into Palestine and argued for it publicly and in his private political contacts. Lehman's first postwar attempt to return to politics, a bid for a New York State senatorial seat in 1946, failed when he was defeated by Irving Ives in the Republican landslide. In a special election in 1949, however, he was elected to the Senate against John Foster Dulles, and he was reelected in the regular election the following year. During his term in the Senate he was a leader of the small liberal minority that uncompromisingly fought against McCarthyism and its tactics. He also headed the opposition to the discriminatory Walter-McCarran immigration bill, against which he cosponsored the unsuccessful Lehman-Tobey bill. He was an internationalist in foreign policy and a staunch supporter of the State of Israel. Lehman declined to run for reelection in 1956. He remained an influential figure in New York State politics, however, and participated, with Eleanor Roosevelt, in Mayor   Robert Wagner's successful "reform crusade" against the Democratic Party organization of New York City in 1961. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Nevins, Herbert H. Lehman and his Era (1963); J. Bellush, Selected Case Studies of the Legislative Leadership of Governor Herbert H. Lehman (1959); idem, in: New York History, 41 (1960), 423–43; 45 (1964), 119–34; 43 (1962), 79–104; B. Bellush, Franklin D. Roosevelt as Governor of New York (1955); S. Birmingham, Our Crowd (1967); Finkelstein, in: AJYB, 66 (1965), 3–20; Glaser, in: Commentary, 35 (1963), 403–9. (Hillel Halkin)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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… …   Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era

  • Lehman, Herbert Henry — (1878–1963)    US banker, political leader and humanitarian. A partner in the family bank of Lehman Bros., Herbert Lehman was elected lieutenant governor of New York State in 1928 and governor in 1932, an office he held for ten years. His… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Lehman, Herbert Henry — (1878 1963)    American banker, politician and statesman. He worked for his father s banking and investment firm, Lehman Bros. During his political career he served as lieutenant governor of New York State (1928 32), governor of New York State… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Herbert H. Lehman — Herbert Henry Lehman (* 28. März 1878 in New York City; † 5. Dezember 1963 ebenda) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker und von 1933 bis 1942 Gouverneur des Bundesstaates New York. Zwischen 1949 und 1957 vertrat er seinen Staat im US Senat …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Herbert H. Lehman — Infobox Officeholder name = Herbert Henry Lehman imagesize = small caption = order = United States Senator from New York term start = November 9, 1949 term end = January 3, 1957 predecessor = John Foster Dulles successor = Jacob K. Javits order2 …   Wikipedia

  • Lehman Brothers — Industry Investment services Fate Chapter 11 bankruptcy Founded 1850, Montgomery, Alabama, US …   Wikipedia

  • Herbert H. Lehman — Herbert Henry Lehman Senador de los Estados Unidos por Nueva York 3 de enero de 1950 – 3 de enero de 1957 Predecesor …   Wikipedia Español

  • LEHMAN — LEHMAN, U.S. family in the 19th–20th century. The brothers HENRY (1821–1855), EMANUEL (1827–1907), and MAYER LEHMAN (1830–1897), the immigrant sons of a Bavarian cattle merchant, formed the Lehman Brothers partnership in Montgomery, Alabama, in… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Lehman — (anglicized; German: Lehmann ) is a common Germanic surname derived from the German word Lehen , meaning fiefdom and Mann , meaning man. People with the surname * Bruce Lehman, American patent lawyer * David Lehman, American poetry editor *… …   Wikipedia

  • Herbert H. Lehman High School — Infobox Secondary school name = Herbert Lehman High School principal = Dr. Janet Saraceno type = Public secondary grades = 9–12 city = The Bronx, New York state = New York country = USA enrollment = 4240 established = 1970 website =… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.