The Lehman Special Correspondence Series provides an extraordinary overview of the political and personal life of Herbert H. Lehman (1878-1963), four-term Governor of New York, from 1933 to 1942, and U.S. Senator from 1949 until 1957. As Governor, Lehman was a supporter of Roosevelt's New Deal and helped implement similar policies in New York State. As U.S. Senator he remained a stalwart liberal Democrat, supporting President Truman and becoming a vocal critic of McCarthyism. Lehman also made significant contributions to overseas refugee relief efforts during World War II, working first for the State Department and later as director general of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.
The personal and reference material in the Special Correspondence Series includes autograph letters from Herbert Lehman's parents and many biographical documents. One folder is of special interest as it outlines his college career in a series of letters from his older brother Arthur Lehman written between 1895 and 1899. Gift of Mrs. Richard Bernhard, 1966.
The correspondence with two of Herbert Lehman's biographers, Allan Nevins and William V. Shannon, contains valuable additions to their research files which are in the library of the collection.
There is also excellent material concerning United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in this file, particularly a series of letters from Herbert Lehman to Mrs. Lehman written while he was on overseas missions, and a brief history of UNRRA by Commander Sir Robert Jackson, Deputy Director-General, which gives a fine outline of the work of the organization.
The special file now also includes correspondence with the most important people who were connected with Herbert Lehman's career. It contains the correspondence with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman which was not mounted in albums (listing of mounted material). It also contains the complete correspondence with Presidents Herbert C. Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and with Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. There is a large correspondence with Eleanor Roosevelt and a number of letters of Lady Bird Johnson. It should be noted that the Kennedy, Johnson, and Humphrey files date from the time when all three men were colleagues of Herbert Lehman in the United States Senate.
The Lehman Special Correspondence Series is a joint initiative of the Libraries' Digital Program Division, the Preservation and Digital Conversion Division, and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.