Tananbaum, Duane, Drawn to public service

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



Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  Page 16  

^HHLOH, pp. 251-253.

^"Governor Roosevelt's
Address," New York
Times, October 5, 1932,
p. 16.

'' Roosevelt to Lehman,
May 14, 1930, in Elliott
Roosevelt, ed., F.D.R.:
His Personal Letters (New
York: Duell, Sloan and
Pearce, 1950), L 120-121.

the more numerous but less populated Republican areas upstate. Final
returns showed Lehman winning narrowly by 14,000 votes and Roosevelt
prevailing by 24,000 out of more than 4 million votes cast. ^

Roosevelt and Lehman transformed the Lieutenant Governor's position
from a mostly ceremonial office to one where Lehman played a major role in
developing and implementing state policies. The two men developed such a
close working relationship that Roosevelt frequently described Lehman as
"that splendid right hand of mine." He utilized Lehman's business expertise
to streamline state purchasing practices, promote cooperation, and prevent
duplication among state agencies. Lehman's investigation of state mental
hospitals revealed deplorable conditions, leading Roosevelt to ask for a $50
million bond issue to construct new facilities, and as Acting Governor while
Roosevelt was out of the state, Lehman had to respond to a riot at Auburn
State Prison and the failure of the City Trust Company bank.^

Lehman was reluctant to seek re-election as Lieutenant Governor in 1930.
He had severed all ties with Lehman Brothers when he had been elected in
1928, but he now felt an obligation to return to the firm to help it weather the
storm of the Depression. But Roosevelt appealed to Lehman's sense of duty
and service to his fellow man to persuade him to stay on, emphasizing that
"the only reason either of us would run again is that sense of obligation to a
great many million people who may insist that we shall try to carry on the
work for another two years." Roosevelt acknowledged publicly that it had been
his good fortune to have a Lieutenant Governor "who is not only fully as capa¬
ble of running the government as I am, but probably a good deal more so," and
noted that he referred "a great number of business and social matters to
Herbert Lehman because ... he is not only one of the greatest business men in
the state but he has also done more along the lines of social reform than
almost anybody else in the state." Roosevelt won re-election by a plurality of
725,000 votes and Lehman triumphed by 565,000 votes. ^

  Page 16