US Democratic administrator, who had a prominent role in advising on and administering Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal relief programme.
Hopkin was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and graduated from Grinnell College in 1912. During the next fifteen years he worked on a number of social welfare projects in New York, spending some years with the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor and serving with the Red Cross in the latter part of World War I. In 1931, at the height of the Depression, he was appointed director of the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration by Roosevelt, then governor of New York, and on Roosevelt's inauguration as president in 1933 Hopkins became federal emergency relief administrator. He advised and encouraged the president on the New Deal relief programmes of the mid-1930s, aimed at providing work for the unemployed on public projects, food and clothing for the needy, and a variety of social and economic reforms. Ignoring the accusations of waste and extravagance hurled at him by his opponents, as director of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Hopkins spent some 8500 million dollars on unemployment aid and brought relief to more than fifteen million Americans.
By the beginning of Roosevelt's second term as president Hopkins had become one of his closest advisers, serving as secretary of commerce (1938–40). Prevented by ill health from pursuing his own political ambitions, he travelled to London and Moscow during World War II as the president's personal representative, negotiating with Churchill and Stalin on such questions as arms supplies and military strategy. In 1941 he was appointed head of the lend-lease programme to provide aid and support to the Allies. After Roosevelt's death in April 1945, Hopkins continued for some months to serve as presidential assistant, visiting Moscow on behalf of the new president, Harry S. Truman.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Second World War.