The Man behind Roosevelt: The Story of Louis McHenry Howe

The Man behind Roosevelt: The Story of Louis McHenry Howe

The Man behind Roosevelt: The Story of Louis McHenry Howe

The Man behind Roosevelt: The Story of Louis McHenry Howe

Excerpt

It was a warm, hazy day in the late summer of 1928 when I first saw Louis McHenry Howe. With a little newspaper background I had gone to New York from my native Kentucky to write a column for southern and western papers. It was called "A Girl's Eye View of New York" -- the viewpoint of a country girl seeing New York for the first time. Al Smith was running for President that year and in my quest for "names" to enliven my column I secured a temporary job with the Democratic National Committee in the General Motors Building just off Columbus Circle. By some quirk of fate I was assigned to the Division of Commerce and Industry in that industrious hive. Its chief was Franklin Roosevelt.

On my first day at work I looked into an inner office and saw, seated at a huge desk, a curious-looking little man with thinning hair, enormous eyes and a face as full of furrows as a plowed field. Sleeves rolled to the elbow revealed arms thin to the point of emaciation. Now and then a hacking cough racked his frail body as he crouched over a mass of papers on his desk. Startled, I inquired who he was. "That's Louis Howe, Mr. Roosevelt's right-hand man," I was told. "He runs this place."

I had never heard of Louis Howe and that such an insignificantlooking person could be clothed with such authority was a mystery to me. My feeling about him was equaled only by his impression of me. He couldn't see me for dust. He'd probably heard that I had come in to get data for a newspaper column, hence would be of little use to "Franklin" -- which was the yardstick by which he measured everybody -- and he took delight in giving me such menial tasks as running out for his newspapers or sending me off on quests for cigarettes and pencils. Gritting my teeth, I'd go, consoled with the thought that this was only temporary. I even made up speeches to say to him as I left the place for good, little dreaming that this was the beginning of an association that would last for eight interesting and dramatic years.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.