Al Smith (1873-1944)

Al Smith (1873-1944) October 4, 2009

Alfred Emanuel Smith, Jr. (December 30, 1873–October 4, 1944), known in private and public life as Al Smith, was an American politician who was elected Governor of New York four times, and was the Democratic U.S. presidential candidate in 1928. He was the first Roman Catholic and Irish-American to run for President as a major party nominee. He lost the election to Herbert Hoover. He then became president of the Empire State, Inc. and was instrumental in getting the Empire State Building built at the onset of the Great Depression. In 1939 he was appointed a Papal Chamberlain of the Sword and Cape, one of the highest honors the Papacy bestowed on a layman, which today is styled a Gentlemen of His Holiness. (here he is seen being decorated by New York’s Cardinal Patrick Hayes.) Smith died at the Rockefeller Institute Hospital on October 4, 1944 of a heart attack, at the age of 70, broken-hearted over the death of his wife from cancer five months earlier. He is interred at Calvary Cemetery, Queens, New York.
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