- Ickes, Harold Leclair
- (1874-1952)Born in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, Harold Ickes was raised in Chicago, Illinois, following his mother’s death. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1897, began working as a newspaper reporter, and then gained his degree in law from the University of Chicago in 1904. He practiced law in Chicago and was active in Republican Party politics. During World War I, Ickes served in Europe with the Young Men’s Christian Association. Despite the political climate, he remained active in Republican Party politics, and as a reformer, he supported Hiram Johnson’s presidential nomination in 1924.With the onset of the Great Depression, Ickes worked for Franklin D. Roosevelt and was appointed secretary of the interior in 1933, a post he held until 1946, becoming in the process one of the greatest public administrators of all time. Under his leadership the Department of the Interior expanded conservation policies and established several new national parks. Ickes helped to establish the Civilian Conservation Corps and was then appointed head of the Public Works Administration in 1933, but his cautious approach led to the creation of the Civil Works Administration under Harry Hopkins. A former secretary of the Chicago branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Ickes worked assiduously to see the inclusion of African Americans in government agencies and ensure equal treatment under the New Deal. He desegregated the Department of the Interior and arranged for Marian Anderson to sing at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 when she was denied the use of Constitution Hall. During World War II, Ickes was the petroleum and solid fuels administrator. He was critical of the internment of Japanese Americans. After the war, he retired from politics and spent most of his time writing his memoirs and columns for various newspapers.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.