Harold LeClair Ickes (1874-1952) served as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Interior for the entire length of Roosevelt’s presidency. A Republican who distanced himself from the party establishment, he was a consistent and outspoken champion of progressive causes, FDR’s “liberal lightning rod,” who supported social justice and civil rights, criticized the Japanese American internment, and advocated self-rule and eventual independence for the world’s colonies. During the Great Depression Ickes headed the Public Works Administration.
Ickes regarded himself as a conservationist in the mold of Theodore Roosevelt. As Secretary of the Interior, he took a special interest in the administration of the National Parks Service (NPS). Between 1933 and 1941, the NPS lands increased from 8.2 million acres to over 20 million acres.
The three-volume Secret Diary of Harold L. Ickes, published posthumously in 1953-1954, is Ickes’s own record of his official and personal life in Washington. Some portions of the original typescript were excised, deemed too detailed or sensitive to persons still living to be published at that time. Drew University Library owns a photo-reproduction of most of this original typescript, with penciled copy edits as it was prepared for publication.