Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Herbert H. Lehman Papers, 1878-2002, bulk 1930-1963

Summary Information

Abstract

This collection documents the personal and political life of Herbert H. Lehman, who served as lieutenant governor, governor, and senator of New York, and as director-general of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.

At a Glance

Bib ID 4078518 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Lehman, Herbert H (Herbert Henry), 1878-1963
Title Herbert H. Lehman Papers, 1878-2002, bulk 1930-1963
Physical Description 607 linear feet (1357 document boxes 20 record storage cartons 23 flat boxes)
Language(s) English .
Access

The following boxes are located on-site: Subseries I.1: Special Correspondence (Boxes 137-186, 1298-1303).

This collection is located off-site except as noted above. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

All original copies of audio and moving image media (Series VIII) are closed until reformatting in 2021.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection has been organized into 16 series.

Description

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.

  • Series I: Lehman Special Files, 1895-1987

    Originally, the "special files" were a small collection of files that Lehman kept separate from general correspondence for quick personal reference. After his death, the file was expanded to include the correspondence of individuals deemed especially well-known or significant. Most of this material was moved from general correspondence.

  • Series II: Correspondence, 1913-1963

    While correspondence can be found throughout the collection, this series contains several large correspondence files that were maintained for long periods of Lehman's life.

  • Series III: Senate Files, 1949-1956

    This large series contains documents created during Lehman's terms as a Senator of New York, 1949 to 1956.

  • Series IV: Campaigns, 1926-1961

    Documents in this series relate to Lehman's campaigns and the campaigns of several other politicians.

    Items identified with an "L" code rather than a box number can be seen by appointment only.

  • Series V: Speeches and Statements, 1918-1963

  • Series VI: Scrapbooks, 1885-1946

    This series contains several scrapbooks, including a scrapbook on Jewish immigration, governor's program books from 1938-1942 that contain lists of legislative decisions made by committees, and a commemorative book from the Williamsburg Settlement's Gold Medal Award Dinner, which contains a copy of the speech and photographs of the ceremony. Scrapbooks relating to Lehman's campaigns can be found in Subseries IV.2: Campaign Scrapbooks.

    Items identified with an "L" code rather than a box number can be seen by appointment only.

  • Series VII: Writings by and about Herbert Lehman, 1880-2002

  • Series VIII. Media, 1920s-1978

  • Series IX: Photographs

    This series contains photographs of Lehman and his family members and colleagues as well as photographs taken by Lehman.

    Items identified with an "L" code rather than a box number can be seen by appointment only.

  • Series X: Memorabilia, 1858-1968

    This series is in process. Please contact rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

  • Series XI: Political Cartoons, 1933-1960

    This subseries contains political cartoons by artists Jerry Costello, Rollin Kirby, Herbert Block ("Herblock"), Frank Hanley, Miguel Covarrubias, Doc Rankin, Crook, Fred Graf, and Jerry Doyle. They depict moments in Lehman's political career and appeared in popular newspapers and magazines. There are a few reproductions, but most are original drawings that were given to Lehman as gifts by the artists.

  • Series XII: Clipping Collection, 1928-1963

    This series contains bound volumes of newspaper clippings about Lehman that were compiled by clipping agencies. It spans most of Lehman's career. Earlier volumes contain clippings only, but later books incorporate photographs and other documents as well. There are also books for Lehman's campaigns for governor and senator, books of editorials and photographs, and several volumes entitled Voice of the People.

  • Series XIII: Press Releases, 1939-1956

    This series contains press releases announcing events and decisions that took place during Lehman's time as head of UNRRA and during his term as senator. They are described by title or subject and filed chronologically.

  • Series XIV: General, 1933-1965

  • Series XV: Lieutenant Governorship and Governorship Microfilms, 1929-1945

    This series contains microfilms of Lehman's lieutenant governorship and governorship papers. The originals are housed at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York.

  • Series XVI: UNRRA, 1939-1950

    This series holds correspondence, reports, scrapbooks, and bulletins relating to Lehman's position as director of UNRRA.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Conditions Governing Access

The following boxes are located on-site: Subseries I.1: Special Correspondence (Boxes 137-186, 1298-1303).

This collection is located off-site except as noted above. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

All original copies of audio and moving image media (Series VIII) are closed until reformatting in 2021.

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.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Herbert H. Lehman Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Material

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

Ownership and Custodial History

Gift of Edith Lehman, William Shannon, Alan Nevins, and indefinite loan from New York Public Library.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

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.

Revision Description

2014-10-04 xml document instance created by Carolyn Smith

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Cartoons Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Political cartoons Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Agriculture Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Civil rights Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Conspiracy theories Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dairy farming Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Depressions -- 1929 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Discrimination in housing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Eisenhower, Dwight D (Dwight David), 1890-1969 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Emigration and immigration Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Families -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Governors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Governors -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Henry Street Settlement (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Herbert H. Lehman Collections (Columbia University) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
International relations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
International relief Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Israel Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Johnson, Lady Bird, 1912-2007 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Johnson, Lyndon B (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Kennedy, John F (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Labor unions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lehman Brothers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lehman, Edith A. (Edith Altschul) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lehman, Herbert H (Herbert Henry), 1878-1963 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
McCarren-Walters Act Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
McCarthy, Joseph, 1908-1957 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Medical care Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Motion pictures Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Natural resources Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New Deal, 1933-1939 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (State) -- Commerce Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (State) -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (State) -- Politics and government -- 1951- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (State) -- Social life and customs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (State). Governor Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York (State). Office of the Lieutenant Governor Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Politicians Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Presidents -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Roosevelt, Franklin D (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Social security Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Taxation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United Nations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United States -- Politics and government -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United States. Congress. Senate Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945 -- Civilian relief Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945 -- War work Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Zoos Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical sketch

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.