Harry Lloyd Hopkins was born in Sioux City, Iowa, on August 17, 1890.He was graduated, A.B. Cum Laude from Grinnell College, Iowa, in 1912. Hethen moved to New York City where he was engaged by Christadora House, asocial settlement, to act as counselor at the summer camp in Bound Brook,New Jersey. This was to be the first stage of a distinguished career insocial work. From 1913 to 1915, Hopkins was a work relief agent for the NewYork Association for Improving conditions for the Poor (NYAICP), where he eventually became executive secretary of the Board of Child Welfare. During World War I, he served with the American Red Cross, first as secretary to the general manager in Washington, D.C., then as assistant director of civilian relief and associate manager of the Gulf Division, headquartered in New Orleans, and finally as manager of the Southern Division.

In 1922, Hopkins returned to New York to become assistant director ofthe NYAICP. In 1924, he was appointed director of the New York Tuberculosis (later the NY Tuberculosis and Health) Association. Then in 1931, Franklin D. Roosevelt, governor of New York State at the time, appointed Hopkins to the position of executive director of the New York Temporary Emergency Relief Administration (TERA), which led to his appointment as administrator of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), in May 1933. FERA was later superseded by the Works Projects Administration (WPA) of which Hopkins became administrator in April 1935. (FERA was officially renamedWPA in July 1939.)

Hopkins resigned from the WPA in DEcember 1938 and entered Roosevelt'scabinet as secretary of commerce, which post he filled until September1940. During these years he became one of Roosevelt's most intimate friendsand advisors. He eventually resigned as secretary of commerce and duringthe Second World War resided at the White House performing many importantand confidential political missions on behalf of the president. Among thesewas his heading of the board of strategy at the Democratic NationalConvention held in Chicago, 1940, to re-elect Roosevelt for a third term.In January 1941, Hopkins was U.S. emissary to Great Britain (pending theappointment of an ambassador) prior to taking charge of the lend-leaseprogram. As a personal representative of Roosevelt, he conferred withWinston Churchill and Premier Stalin; and as a member of the president'sinner cabinet, he attended the major war conferences at Washington,Casablanca, Quebec, Cairo, Tehran, and Yalta. After the war, Hopkinsprepared the way to the Potsdam (Berlin) Conference (summer 1945), and wasinstrumental in launching the United Nations Conference in San Francisco(April 1945).

Hopkins retired from a brilliant career in government service in July1945. he died on January 29, 1946, at Memorial Hospital New York.

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This collection constitutes the third accession of the papers of HarryHopkins. Material is grouped into eight series (see Synopsis). Arrangement of the correspondence reflects the successive stages of Hopkins' career. An important aspect of the family correspondence is the letters between Hopkins and his son Robert, which cover the war years (1940 to 1945) during which the latter served in the Army Signal Corps. Letters (of condolence) received by Hopkins regarding the death of his youngest son Stephen (killed in combat during the invasion of Namur in the Marshall Islands, 1944) are also noteworthy.

The collection includes various typescripts of articles by Hopkins, as well as a number of memoranda written by him during his years of service at the White House. Some noteworthy correspondence comprises the series of xeroxed material (for explanation, see Synopsis) and includes Max Beaverbrook, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Dwight Esenhower, J. Edgar Hoover, Charles De Gaulle, and Harry Truman. Xeroxes of Hopkins' memoranda regarding his trips abroad (to London and Moscow) and the Yalta Conference are also included.

The collection is completed by a series of newsclippings covering many important moments in the lives of both Hopkins and his family. Included are magazine pictorial features of Hopkins' career. spotlighting his years as presidential advisor, as well as news articles that follow the experiences of his sons, Robert and Stephen, during World War II.

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Processed by: Lisette C. Matano

Date: March 6, 1990

BULK DATES: 1920 - 1946
SPAN DATES: 1917 - 1979

EXTENT: 3.50 linear feet


SERIES: 1. Correspondence - Business

SERIES DESCRIPTION: This series may be divided roughly into the following sections of HLH'sbusiness/work-related correspondence: - Correspondence related to HLH's years with public serviceadministrations, includes NYAICP, ARC, Secretary of Commerce. (Note:includes some letters from the public addressed to HLH in his officialcapacity.) - Correspondence related to HLH's years as presidential advisor to FDRand his association with the White House particularly during the war years.Includes HLH's various diplomatic trips abroad to London, Russia andEurope. Folders are arranged alphabetically and correspondence within is inchronological order unless stated otherwise. (Box 1, Folders 1-16)

SERIES: 2. Democratic National Convention, Chicago (1940)

SERIES DESCRIPTION: This series constitutes correspondence covering the Democratic NationalConvention for the election of Roosevelt to a third presidential term. Thebulk of material dates from late 1938 through fall 1940. Folders have beenmaintained in their provenance; arrangement is alphabetical by surname.Content includes letters from the public in support of FDR, as well aspoison pen letters, and correspondence from HLH's colleagues. Notablecorrespondence is itemized for each folder description. (CorrespondenceA-L, Box 2, Folders 1-13; Correspondence K-Z, Box 3, Folders 1-20)

SERIES: 3. General Personal Correspondence

SERIES DESCRIPTION: This series is composed primarily of personal messages from HLH's friendsand colleagues. Correspondence is arranged chronologically and also bysubject. The latter category includes correspondence to HLH re. socialengagement items such as invitations to semi-official events, re. HLH'sDistinguished Service Medal award, re. Grinnell College, re. resignation asSecretary of Commerce in 1940, and re. his final retirement from governmentservice in 1945. (Box 4, Folders 1-13)

SERIES: 4. Individual Correspondence

SERIES DESCRIPTION: This short series includes correspondence from Kathleen Harriman, theRoosevelts, and Robert Sherwood. The series may very well be consideredpart two of the preceding series since much of the correspondence to HLH ispersonal. However, general information is also included on individuals suchas FDR and it was deemed more practical to create a separate series in theinterest of accessibility. (Box 4, Folders 14-18)

SERIES: 5. Family Correspondence

SERIES DESCRIPTION: The first part of this series is arranged alphabetically by correspondentand includes letters from members of the Hopkins family and relatives.Included also is one folder containing correspondence to HLH concerning thesearch for a summer cottage. (Box 4, Folders 19-27) The second part of the series consists of correspondence between HLH andhis son Robert. Letters cover the war years during which RH participated asa combat cameraman in the US Army Signal Corps. Other correspondence, whichhas been maintained in its provenance among the correspondence receivedor retained by RH, relates to his mother Ethel Gross Hopkins, his wifeBrenda, and to the death of Stephen. Included is correspondence to and byHLH about RH, related to his wartime work, as well as to early applicationsto college and for employment. Arrangement is chronological with letters usually preceding telegrams.Note: some correspondence may be addressed to or cosigned by RH and StephenHopkins - they lived with their mother Ethel Gross in Northfield,Massachussetts after her formal divorce from HLH in 1931. (Box 5, Folders1-26)

SERIES: 6. Manuscripts

SERIES DESCRIPTION: This series includes speech drafts (TMs) as well as miscellaneous personalfiles such as medical records and a certificate awarding HLH the title ofLieutenant Colonel on the Personal Staff of the governor of Florida. (Box6, Folders 1-7)

SERIES: 7. Xerox Series

SERIES DESCRIPTION: Material in this series has been maintained in its provenance andconstitutes xerox copies of original correspondence and manuscripts stillheld by members of the Hopkins family or deposited elsewhere. In the lattercase, material is accompanied by typewritten notes by RH indicatingprovenance and current repository. (Box 6, Folders 8-31) Material is arranged alphabetically by folder title with organizationbasically reflecting that of the bulk of this collection.

SERIES: 8. Oversized - Photographs / Newsclippings

SERIES DESCRIPTION: The series includes 2 large photographs (b/w) of HLH. In addition,newsclippings and magazine articles about HLH spanning the three majorperiods of his career as public service administrator, secretary ofcommerce, and presidential advisor. Newsclippings on members of the Hopkinsfamily, Robert and Stephen, are included. There are also a few news itemson the Democratic National Convention, 1940, and on various public figures.Material is arranged in chronological order by decade within each folder. One folder of miscellaneous printed items (pamphlets, articles) collectedat one time or another by HLH or RH is included at the end. (Box 7, Folders1-16)