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Samuel Irving Rosenman

American politician
The basics
Occupation Lawyer Politician Judge
Country United States of America
Date of birth San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, U.S.A.
Date of death Jun 24, 1973 New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Education Columbia Law School
Political party Democratic Party
Authority VIAF id Library of congress id NNDB id ISNI id
The details

Samuel Irving Rosenman (February 13, 1896 – June 24, 1973) was an American lawyer, judge, Democratic Party activist and presidential speechwriter. He helped articulate liberal policies during the heyday of the New Deal Coalition.

Personal life and political career

Rosenman was born in San Antonio, Texas, the son of Solomon and Ethel (Paler) Rosenman. He served in the US Army during World War I and graduated From Columbia Law School in 1919. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Delta Sigma Rho.

He became active in Democratic politics and was a member of the New York State Assembly (New York Co., 11th D.) in 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925 and 1926; and a Justice of the New York Supreme Court (1st D.) from 1936 to 1943. By the mid-1930s, Rosenman had emerged as a leading spokesman for the New York Jewish community.

Rosenman was a senior advisor to presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Under their administrations, he was a leading figure in the war crimes issue. He was also the first official White House Counsel, then called Special Counsel, between 1943 and 1946.

He was a speechwriter under both presidents, helping Roosevelt with his speeches from his days as governor. While he was not heavily involved in speechwriting during Roosevelt's first term, he started traveling to Washington to help out with important talks during the 1936 campaign and was a key speech aide for the remainder of Roosevelt's life. He officially joined the White House after ill health forced him to have to choose between his judicial work and his presidential work.

He submitted his resignation as Special Counsel upon Roosevelt's death but Truman asked him to stay on, initially through V-E Day, then through V-J Day, and finally into 1946. Even after leaving the White House, he would periodically return to aid the president with major speeches, including his acceptance speech to the 1948 Democratic National Convention.


Rosenman edited The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, published in 13 volumes from 1938 to 1950. They have been immensely influential in the study of the New Deal and Roosevelt's policies; given the enormous mass of data at the Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, the papers have been used by historians as a guide, a conceptual framework, and a source. While his selections have given rise to some accusations of partisan selectivity and of deviations from the content of delivered speeches, the work still holds up remarkably well as an important piece of scholarship, and Rosenman will long be remembered as the Thucydides of the Roosevelt era, according to Hand (1968).

Later career

From 1964 to 1966, Rosenman served as president of the New York City Bar Association.


  • Samuel and Dorothy Rosenman, Presidential Style: Some Giants and a Pigmy in the White House (1976)
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