Thomas Edmund Dewey (March 24, 1902 – March 16, 1971) was the Governor of New York (1943-1955) and the unsuccessful Republican candidate for the U.S. Presidency in 1944 and 1948. As a leader of the liberal faction of the Republican party he fought the conservative faction led by Senator Robert A. Taft, and played a major role in nominating Dwight D. Eisenhower for the presidency in 1952. Dewey represented the Northeastern business and professional community that accepted most of the New Deal after 1944. His successor as leader of the liberal Republicans was Nelson A. Rockefeller, who became governor of New York in 1959. The New York State Thruway is named in his honor.
Early life and family
Dewey was born and raised in Owosso, Michigan, where his father owned, edited, and published the local newspaper, the Owosso Times. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1923, and from Columbia Law School in 1925. While at the University of Michigan, he joined Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a national fraternity for men of music, and was a member of the University of Michigan Men's Glee Club|Men's Glee Club. He was an excellent singer with a deep, baritone voice, and in 1923 he finished in third place in the National Singing Contest. He briefly considered a career as a professional singer, but decided against it after a temporary throat ailment convinced him that such a career would be risky. He then decided to pursue a career as a lawyer. He also wrote for The Michigan Daily, the university's student newspaper.
In 1928, Dewey married Frances Hutt. A native of Sherman, Texas, she had briefly been a stage actress; after their marriage she dropped her acting career. They had two sons, Thomas E. Dewey, Jr. and John Martin Dewey. Although Dewey served as a prosecutor and District Attorney in New York City for many years, his home from 1938 until his death was a large farm, called "Dapplemere", located near the town of Pawling, New York some 65 miles (105 km) north of New York City. According to biographer Richard Norton Smith, Dewey "loved Dapplemere as [he did] no other place", and Dewey was once quoted as saying that "I work like a horse five days and five nights a week for the privilege of getting to the country on the weekend." Dapplemere was part of a tight-knit rural community called "Quaker Hill," which was known as a haven for the prominent and well-to-do. Among Dewey's neighbors on Quaker Hill were the famous reporter and radio broadcaster Lowell Thomas, the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale, and the legendary CBS News journalist Edward R. Murrow. Dewey was a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church.
Although closely identified with the Republican Party for virtually his entire adult life, Dewey was a close friend of Democratic Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, and Dewey aided Humphrey in being named as the Democratic nominee for vice-president in 1964, advising Lyndon Johnson on ways to block efforts at the party convention by Kennedy loyalists to stampede Robert Kennedy onto the ticket as Johnson's running mate.
Death and legacy
Frances Dewey died in the summer of 1970 after battling cancer for six years. Later in 1970, Dewey began to date actress Kitty Carlisle, and there was talk of marriage between them. However, he died suddenly of a massive heart attack on March 16, 1971, eight days before his 69th birthday, while vacationing with friend Dwayne Andreas in Miami, Florida, following a round of golf with Boston Red Sox player Carl Yastrzemski. He was 68 years old. Both he and his wife are buried in the town cemetery of Pawling, New York; after his death his farm of Dapplemere was sold and renamed "Dewey Lane Farm" in his honor.
- Richard Norton Smith, Thomas E. Dewey and his Times, p. 25.
- Smith, p. 86.
- Smith, p. 103
- Smith, p. 320–326.
- Smith, p. 630–634.
- Smith, p. 635–638.
- Smith, p. 642.