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Table of Contents
Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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Series I: Lehman Special Files
Series II: Correspondence
Series III: Senate Files
Series IV: Campaigns
Series VII: Writings by and about Herbert Lehman
Series IX: Photographs
Series XIII: Press Releases
Series XIV: General
Series XV: Lieutenant Governorship and Governorship Microfilms
At a Glance
This collection has been organized into fifteen series: Series I: Special Files, 1895-1987 Subseries I.1: Special Correspondence, 1895-1981 Subseries I.2: Special Subject Files, 1885-1987 Series II: Correspondence, 1913-1963 Subseries II.1: General Correspondence, 1913-1963 Subseries II.2: New York Office Correspondence, 1947-1963 Subseries II.3: Carolin Flexner and Francis Bergman Files, 1921-1953 Series III: Senate Files, 1920-1960 Subseries III.1: Tissue Files, 1949-1956 Subseries III.2: Day-to-Day Files, 1950-1956 Subseries III.3: Legislative Files, 1931-1960 Subseries III.4: Robo Files, 1954-1957 Subseries III.5: Senate Bill Files, 1949-1956 Subseries III.6: Departmental Files, 1947-1957 Subseries III.7: Senate Subject Files, 1938-1956 Subseries III.8: Recommendation Files, 1920-1956 Subseries III.9: Crank Files, 1950-1960 Series IV: Campaigns, 1926-1961 Subseries IV.1: General Campaign Files, 1926-1961 Subseries IV.2: Campaign Scrapbooks, 1930-1950 Subseries IV.3: Campaign Contributions, 1946-1950 Series V: Speeches and Statements, 1918-1963 Subseries V.1: Speeches, 1918-1963 Subseries V.2: Statements, 1932-1942 Series VI: Scrapbooks, 1885-1947 Series VII: Writings by and about Herbert Lehman, 1880-2002 Subseries VII.1: Working Papers for Herbert Lehman and His Era, 1880-1965 Subseries VII.2: William V. Shannon Research Files, 1930-1955 Subseries VII.3: Oral Histories, 1957-1979 Subseries VII.4: Articles by and about Lehman, 1932-1974 Subseries VII.5: Pamphlets, 1931-1982 Subseries VII.6: Writings of Arthur Lehman Goodhart and Others, 1927-1975 Subseries VII.7: General, 1944-2002 Series VIII: Media, 1933-1964 Series IX: Photographs, 1878-1962 Subseries IX.1: Photographs, 1878-1994 Subseries IX.2: Printing Plates and Prints, circa 1930s Subseries IX.3: Personal Photo Albums, 1952-1962 Series X: Memorabilia, 1858-1968 Series XI: Political Cartoons, 1933-1960 Series XII: Clipping Collection, 1928-1963 Series XIII: Press Releases, 1939-1956 Subseries XIII.1: Washington Office Press Releases, 1939-1956 Subseries XIII.2: Senate Press Releases, 1950-1956 Series XIV: General, 1931-1982 Subseries: XIV.1: Invitations, 1950-1963 Subseries: XIV.2: Birthday and Other Greetings, 1938-1965 Subseries: XIV.3: Guest Lists and Entertainment, 1933-1942 Subseries: XIV.4: Condolences, 1944-1963 Subseries: XIV.5: Honorary Memberships, 1933-1942 Subseries: XIV.6: American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in Europe, 1943-1946 Subseries XIV.7: New York State Department of Labor, 1937-1951 Series XV: Lieutenant Governorship and Governorship Microfilms, 1929-1942 Subseries XV.1: Lieutenant Governorship Files, 1929-1932 Subseries XV.2: Governorship Files, 1927-1945 Series XVI: UNRRA, 1939-1950.
Scope and Content
The collection documents Herbert H. Lehman's entire political career, though it focuses most heavily on his years as governor and senator. There is also material relating to his personal life, particularly his family and hobbies. It contains correspondence, speeches, research files, photographs, audio and visual recordings, oral histories, scrapbooks, articles, clippings, book drafts, appointment books, artwork, political cartoons, and memorabilia.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Herbert H. Lehman Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Marshall MacDuffie Papers Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Orin Lehman Papers Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Overbrook Press Records, Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
William B. Welsh Papers, Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Frank Altschul Papers, Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Paul Baerwald Papers, Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Hugh R. Jackson Papers, Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Sir Robert G.A. Jackson Papers, Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Edith Lehman Papers, Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
James G. McDonald Papers, Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Charles Poletti Papers, Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Richard Scandrett Papers, Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League, Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
UNRRA Microfilm, Columbia University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Correspondence, manuscripts, documents, sound recordings, motion pictures, political cartoons, clippings, printed material, memorabilia.
Surveyed Julie Miller. Processed by Brian Mackus, Columbia College '12; Tracy Thai, Barnard College '11; Stefanie Patterson, Columbia College '12; Hilary Hanson, Columbia College '12; Reuben Berman, Columbia College '14, and Carolyn Smith, archivist. Finding aid written by Carolyn Smith in 05/--/87 April 2014.
History / Biographical Note
Herbert Henry Lehman was born in New York City on March 28, 1878. He was the son of Mayer Lehman of Rimpar, Germany, and Babetta Newgass. Along with his brothers Henry and Emanuel, Mayer Lehman founded the Lehman Brothers investment banking firm.
Herbert Lehman grew up in New York and attended Sachs Collegiate Institute. After graduating from Williams College with a BA in 1899, he worked for the J. Spencer Turner Co., a textile manufacturing company, as a salesman and quickly worked his way up to vice president and treasurer. In 1908, he became a partner in Lehman Brothers. Lehman married Edith Altschul in 1910 and they would adopt three children, Peter, John, and Hilda Lane.
When World War I began, Lehman was eager to join the armed services. At 39 he was considered too old to fight, but persisted until he found a position at the Navy Department in the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, where he became responsible for procuring textiles for clothing, uniforms, and blankets. He was eventually made assistant director of the Purchase, Storage, and Traffic Division, which was charged with securing supplies for the Army on a massive scale. He was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal for his work.
During the 1920s, Lehman became actively involved in politics and assisted with the presidential campaign of Al Smith. He left business entirely in 1928 and became Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Democratic Party. Lehman was elected lieutenant governor of New York in 1928 and 1930 and worked closely with then-governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, who valued his understanding of business. Lehman was elected governor of New York in 1932 and served four terms from 1933 to 1942. He was the first Jewish governor of the state.
During the Depression, Lehman supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt and based New York relief efforts on the New Deal. His "Little New Deal" programs set a minimum wage, provided aid to the unemployed, created options for public housing, created an unemployment insurance program, reduced utility rates, and aided farmers. Lehman also ensured that New York received maximum funding from New Deal programs such as the Civil Works Administration and the Works Progress Administration. LaGuardia Airport, The Central Park Zoo, the Triborough Bridge, and the Lincoln Tunnel were among the projects created by New Deal programs.
On December 3, 1942, Lehman resigned as governor and become Director of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations for the United States Department of State, an appointment offered by Roosevelt. The remainder of his term--only one month--was served by Charles Poletti. The following year, Lehman was chosen for the position of Director-General of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). From 1943 to 1946 he helped organize the distribution of food, supplies, and equipment to European countries.
All three of Lehman's children served in the US military during World War II. His son Peter, a pilot who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his missions in Germany, was killed during a practice flight in 1944.
Lehman was the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from New York in 1946, but was defeated by Republican candidate Irving Ives. In 1949, when Senator Robert F. Wagner retired early due to health issues, Lehman ran in the special election for the remainder of the term and won, defeating John Foster Dulles. In 1950, he was re-elected to a full term and served until 1956. As a senator Lehman faced many challenges. He opposed changes to immigration policies that would base quotas on national origin, arguing that such policies were racist and that family unification, occupational skill, and pleas for asylum were more important considerations. He argued for better enforcement of civil rights legislation and an end to discrimination in housing and employment. Lehman strongly opposed the actions of Senator Joseph McCarthy throughout the 1950s and spoke openly and persistently against him.
Lehman retired from the senate in 1956 and did not seek another office, but he was still involved in politics and joined a group of reform Democrats with the aim of removing Tammany Hall influences from the party. Their efforts eventually ended the Tammany political machine.
Both Herbert and Edith Lehman were active in philanthropy throughout their lives and were given many awards in recognition of their aid. They funded "Pete's House" at the Henry Street Settlement honor of their son Peter, who had been a youth leader there. They also created the Lehman Children's Zoo (now the Tisch Zoo) at the Central Park Zoo in 1961.
Herbert Lehman died on December 5, 1963, at the age of 85.