November 5, 2007
Harold Ickes was the Secretary of the Interior for thirteen years, serving from
1933 to 1946 and served as the chairman of the Public Works Administration under
President Franklin Roosevelt.
He was also a strong player in several parts of President
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal.”
Harold LeClair Ickes was born on March 15, 1874
to Martha Ann McCune Ickes and Jesse B. W. Ickes.
He was born in Frankstown
Township, Pennsylvania and was the first son but the second of seven children.
was raised Presbyterian by his mother and “was taught to believe that Presbyterianism
was the quickest and the only sure way to grace.”
After his mother Martha’s death in
1890 her sister Ada Wheeler took Harold and his sister Mary in and the two of them
relocated to Chicago, he was sixteen at the time.
Ickes Aunt Ada was the person who
kept Ickes education on track, “Had it not been for his Aunt Ada, who was one of those
members of the family who loved books and who swore by education, our young gadfly
might have abandoned his schooling then and there.”
He attended the University of
Jeanne Nienaber Clarke,
(Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1996), 4.
Linda J. Lear,
Harold L. Ickes The Aggressive Progressive 1874-1933,
Garland Publishing, Inc., 1981), 1.
Harold L. Ickes,
The Autobiography of a Curmudgeon,
(New York, Cornwall Press,