Tananbaum, Duane, Drawn to public service

(New York, NY :  Columbia University Libraries,  c2009.)



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File, Lillian Wald.

trapped because the building's fire exits were locked, and he applauded the

efforts of Al Smith and others in the New York State Legislature to enact

laws mandating safer working conditions.'

In the 1920s Herbert Lehman became actively involved in Demo-               ^Lehman to Wald,

December 24, 1910,
cratic Party politics through his association with Governor Al Smith.                 Lehman Papers, Special

Lehman strongly supported Smith's efforts to improve working condi¬
tions in factories, provide better housing for people living in slums, help
those who needed assistance, create a system of state parks, streamHne
the state government, give the Governor greater power over the state's
budget process, and prevent the state's hydroelectric power potential from
falling into private hands.

Lehman's plans to play a major role in Smith's campaign for the
Democratic nomination for President in 1924 were sidetracked when the
Governor asked him to help mediate a dispute in the garment industry. This
was just the first of many instances in which Lehman was called in to help
settle conflicts in the needlework trade, but the strike was not averted until
after the Democratic National Convention had nominated John W. Davis on
the 103rd ballot. Lehman worked hard for Smith's re-election as Governor of
New York in 1924 and 1926, serving as treasurer of Smith's re-election com¬
mittee in 1924 and contributing $10,000 to the campaign, the largest single
contribution and almost 10 per cent of the total amount raised on Smith's
behalf In 1926, Lehman chaired Smith's re-election committee, converting
what had previously been a figurehead position into an active one which he
used to speak out frequently and forcefully on Smith's behalf.

Lehman served as one of Smith's top lieutenants in the Governor's
efforts to win the presidency in 1928 despite the anti-Catholic bigotry he
encountered. Lehman visited a number of western states on Smith's behalf,
headed the Democratic National Committee's Finance Committee, and
contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the campaign. But Smith's

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