Samuel Irving Rosenman

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Samuel Irving Rosenman (1896–1973) was a Jewish lawyer, judge, Democratic political figure, and Jewish presidential speechwriter.

Samuel Irving Rosenman was born in San Antonio, Texas, son of Solomon and Ethel (Paler) Rosenman.

Samuel Irving Rosenman served in the U.S. 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.

Samuel Irving Rosenman became active in Democratic politics, and was elected to the New York State Assembly (New York County 11th District in 1922-26); and the New York Supreme Court (1st District, 1936–43).

Samuel Irving Rosenman was an advisor to Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. Under their administration Samuel Irving Rosenman was a leading figure in the war crimes issue. Samuel Irving Rosenman was also the first official White House Counsel — then called Special Counsel—between 1943 and 1946.

Samuel Irving Rosenman was a speechwriter under both presidents, helping Roosevelt with his speeches from his days as governor. While Samuel Irving Rosenman was not heavily involved in speechwriting during FDR’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 FDR’s life. Samuel Irving Rosenman officially joined the White House after ill health forced him to have to choose between his judicial work and his presidential work.

Samuel Irving Rosenman submitted his resignation as Special Counsel upon FDR’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 convention.

Samuel Irving 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 FDR’s policies, and, given the enormous mass of data at the Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, it is used by historians as a guide, a conceptual framework, and a source. His selections have given rise to some accusations of partisan selectivity and of deviations from a delivered speech, 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).

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


  • Hand, Samuel B. „Rosenman, Thucydides, and the New Deal,“ Journal of American History, Sept 1968, Vol. 55 Issue 2, pp 334–348
  • Hand, Samuel B. Counsel and Advise: A Political Biography of Samuel I. Rosenman (1979). 362 pp. the standard scholarly biography
  • Ryan, Halford R. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Rhetorical Presidency (1988) online edition

Primary sources

  • Rosenman, Samuel I. Working with Roosevelt (1952).
  • The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt by Franklin D. Roosevelt; edited by Samuel Irving Rosenman; Random House, 1938 online edition of vol 5


  1. ^Who’s Who in American Jewry, 1928
  2. ^New York Red Book, 1923
  3. ^New York Legislative Manual, 1922-43
Legal offices
Preceded by
White House Counsel
Succeeded by
Clark Clifford


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