Harold LeClair Ickes

Harold LeClair Ickes

Birth
Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 3 Feb 1952 (aged 77)
Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
Burial Sandy Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA
Memorial ID 15205478 · View Source
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Social Reformer, Author. He takes a place in American History for serving thirteen years as a member of United States President Franklin Roosevelt's cabinet. His tenure as Secretary of the Interior was the longest-serving of this appointed position and the second longest-serving of any United States Cabinet position. He was a prominent member who supported Roosevelt's “New Deal”, which gave funding to industry, agriculture, electrical services, labor forces, food supply and housing, thus increasing the scope of the Federal government in everyday life. He swung between the Republican and Democratic political parties before his appointment to Roosevelt's cabinet as a progressive Republican. He sought to be the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, but Roosevelt wanted him on his cabinet. He appointed John Collier to the position of Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Besides the usual task of the Secretary of the Interior, he was given the task of head of the Public Work Administration (PWA) and managing oil production during World War II. Rapidly, he addressed concern of the Native Americans and the National Park Service. As a former president of the Chicago chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP,) he supported concerns of African-Americans as well as being a vocal critic of the World War II internment camps for Japanese Americans. For being a crusader against government corruption, he earned the nickname of “Honest Harold.” Born on a farm in Pennsylvania, he relocated at the age of sixteen years old to Chicago, Illinois to live with an aunt and uncle since his mother had died of pneumonia. After high school graduation, he attended part-time the University of Chicago graduating in 1897 with a BA degree. He received his law degree from the same university in 1907, but rarely practiced law but became active in local politics becoming well-known in political circles. He was a supporter early in Roosevelt's political career. As a personal friend of Roosevelt, he was known as “Roosevelt's hatchet man,” since he gave aggressive verbal attacks on Republican candidates during the presidential campaigns. After a dispute with President Harry S. Truman, he resigned from his cabinet position in February 1946 while still grieving Roosevelt's death. After his resignation, he lived on his Maryland farm with his family. He married twice and fathered three children. His son, Harold M. Ickes, was White House Deputy Chief of Staff for United States President Bill Clinton. In his later years, he wrote a syndicated newspaper column and contributed regularly to the liberal weekly, “New Republic.” He published five books including his rambling sardonic personal recollections, which were published in 1943 in “The Autobiography of a Curmudgeon.” His lively diary, which expressed his opinions and actions, was posthumously published in volumes as “The Secret Diary of Harold L. Ickes.” He was not elected to his long-served cabinet position, yet his tenure impacted the United States for decades.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Laurie
  • Added: 10 Aug 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 15205478
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Harold LeClair Ickes (15 Mar 1874–3 Feb 1952), Find A Grave Memorial no. 15205478, citing Sandy Spring Friends Meeting House Cemetery, Sandy Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .