FDR Inscribes Photograph To His "OldSidekick" Louis McHenry Howe
Louis McHenry Howe (January 14, 1871 – April 18, 1936) was an American reporter for the New York Herald best known for acting as an early political advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Born to a wealthy family in Indianapolis, Indiana, Howe was a small, sickly, and asthmatic child. The family moved to Saratoga, New York, after serious financial losses, and Howe became a journalist with a small paper that his father purchased. Howe married Grace Hartley and spent the next decade freelancing for the New York Herald and working various jobs. He was assigned to cover the New York state legislature in 1906, and soon became a political operative for Thomas Mott Osborne, a Democratic opponent of theTammany Hall political machine. After Osborne fired Howe in 1909, Howe attached himself to rising Democratic star Franklin D. Roosevelt, with whom he would work for the rest of his life. Howe oversaw Roosevelt's campaign for the New York State Senate, worked with him in the Navy Department, and acted as an advisor and campaign manager during Roosevelt's 1920 vice presidential run. After Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921, resulting in partial paralysis, Howe became Roosevelt's public representative, keeping his political career alive during his recovery. He arranged Roosevelt's 1924 "Happy Warrior" convention speech that returned him to the public eye, and helped to run Roosevelt's narrowly successful 1928 campaign to become Governor of New York. Howe then spent the next four years laying the groundwork for Roosevelt's landslide 1932 presidential victory. Named Roosevelt's secretary, Howe helped the president to shape the early programs of the New Deal, particularly the Civilian Conservation Corps. Howe grew ill shortly after Roosevelt's election, and died before the end of his first term. Howe also acted as a political advisor to Franklin's wife, Eleanor, and he encouraged her to take an active role in politics, introducing her to women's groups and coaching her in public speaking. Eleanor later called Howe one of the most influential people in her life. Franklin Roosevelt biographer Jean Edward Smith called Howe "a backroom man without equal in Democratic politics", and Roosevelt publicly credited Howe and James Farley for his first election to the presidency in 1932. Roosevelt inscribed this early photograph, probably taken when he was Governor, to Howe, ""For my old sidekick - L. McH. H. with the affectionate regards of Franklin D. Roosevelt."
Louis McHenry Howe with FDR and James Farley