Back to former New York governors
Herbert Henry Lehman
New York

Gov. Herbert Henry Lehman

  • January 1, 1933 - December 3, 1942
  • Democratic
  • March 28, 1878
  • December 5, 1963
  • New York
  • Williams College
  • Married Edith Altshul; three children
  • Resigned
  • Senator
  • Army


HERBERT H. LEHMAN, the forty-ninth governor of New York, was born in New York City on March 28, 1878. His education was attained at Sachs Collegiate Institute, and then at Williams College, where he earned an undergraduate degree in 1899 and a M.A. degree in 1921. Before entering into a political career, he established the Lehman Brothers Co., a successful investment banking business. He also served during World War I as a colonel in the U.S. Army. Lehman first entered politics in 1928, serving as chairman of the finance committee of the Democratic National Committee. He also served as the lieutenant governor of New York from 1929 to 1932. Lehman next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote on November 8, 1932. He won reelection in 1934, 1936, and 1938. During his tenure, public utilities were regulated; a state racing commission was formed; an unemployment insurance system was initiated; and a constitutional amendment was sanctioned that lengthened the governor’s term to a four year term. Lehman resigned from the governor’s office on December 3, 1942. He then served as the director of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations, as well as serving as the director-general of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, a post he held from 1943 to 1946. In 1948 he served as a member of the Public Advisory Board of Economic Cooperation Administration; and from 1949 to 1957 was a member of the U.S. Senate. Governor Herbert H. Lehman passed away on December 5, 1963, and was buried in the Rensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.


Columbia University

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Recent New York Governors