Give to Lehman

Lehman College

Lehman Professor fills the void left by scholars who have neglected the four-time Governor of New York State, U.S. Senator, humanitarian, reformer, and Jewish leader with new biography of Herbert H. Lehman

This new biography of Herbert H. Lehman (1878-1963) fills the void left by scholars who have neglected this four-time Governor of New York State, U.S. Senator, humanitarian, reformer, and Jewish leader.  Based on extensive research in archival sources, this comprehensive account of Lehman's political career -- the first such work since Allan Nevins's 1963 biography of Lehman -- restores this revered public servant to his rightful place among the pantheon of liberal heroes of his era.

By focusing on Lehman's interactions with Lillian Wald, Al Smith, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Joe McCarthy, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson, Tananbaum shows how Lehman succeeded politically, winning statewide election eight times, despite his refusal to compromise with his beliefs.  Lehman's honesty, integrity, and dedication to principle led him to oppose his good friend Franklin Roosevelt's court-packing plan in 1937, confront Joe McCarthy and vote against the McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950 even though the country was in the midst of the "Red Scare" at the time, and challenge Carmine De Sapio and the bosses who controlled the Democratic Party in New York.  No wonder Eleanor Roosevelt and others described Herbert Lehman as "the conscience of the Senate."

In his thirty-five years of public service, Herbert Lehman fought the Republicans in the State Legislature to provide aid and assistance for New Yorkers during the Great Depression, and he battled bureaucrats in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations and fiscal conservatives and isolationists in Congress to enable the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration to feed the starving people of Europe and Asia during and after World War II.  His support of “the welfare state" and his efforts on behalf of civil rights legislation and immigration reform helped keep the liberal agenda alive until Congress, and the nation, were ready to enact it into law as part of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society in 1964-1965.This new biography of Herbert H. Lehman -- four-time Governor of New York State, U.S. Senator, humanitarian, reformer, and Jewish leader  -- fills the void left by scholars who have neglected this revered public servant of the mid-20th Century.  Based on extensive research in archival sources, this comprehensive account of Lehman's political career -- the first such work since Allan Nevins's 1963 biography of Lehman -- restores Lehman to his rightful place among the pantheon of liberal heroes of his era.