|42nd Governor of New York|
January 1, 1923 – December 31, 1928
George R. Lunn (1923–1924)
Seymour Lowman (1925–1926)
Edwin Corning (1927–1928)
|Preceded by||Nathan L. Miller|
|Succeeded by||Franklin D. Roosevelt|
January 1, 1919 – December 31, 1920
|Lieutenant||Harry C. Walker|
|Preceded by||Charles S. Whitman|
|Succeeded by||Nathan L. Miller|
|8th President of the New York City Board of Aldermen|
January 1, 1917 – December 31, 1918
|Preceded by||Frank L. Dowling|
|Succeeded by||Robert L. Moran|
Alfred Emanuel Smith
December 30, 1873
Manhattan, New York City
October 4, 1944
New York City
|Spouse(s)||Catherine Ann Dunn|
|Residence||Manhattan, New York City|
Alfred Emanuel "Al" Smith (December 30, 1873 – October 4, 1944) was an American statesman who was elected Governor of New York four times and was the Democratic U.S. presidential candidate in 1928. He was the foremost urban leader of the efficiency-oriented Progressive Movement and was noted for achieving a wide range of reforms as governor in the 1920s. He was also linked to the notorious Tammany Hall machine that controlled New York City's politics; was a strong opponent of Prohibition and was the first Catholic nominee for President. His candidacy mobilized Catholic votes—especially women who previously had not voted. It also mobilized the anti-Catholic vote, which was strongest in the South.
As a committed "wet" (anti-Prohibition) candidate, Smith attracted not only drinkers but also voters angered by the corruption and lawlessness brought about by prohibition. However, he was feared among Protestants, including German Lutherans and Southern Baptists, who believed that the Catholic Church and the Pope would dictate his policies. Most importantly, this was a time of national prosperity under a Republican Presidency, and Smith lost in a landslide to Republican Herbert Hoover. Four years later Smith sought the 1932 nomination but was defeated by his former ally and successor as New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. Smith entered business in New York City and became an increasingly vocal opponent of Roosevelt's New Deal.
- Early life 1
Political career 2
- State legislature 2.1
- Governor (1918–28) 2.2
- 1928 election 2.3
- Voter realignment 2.4
- Opposition to Roosevelt and the New Deal 2.5
- Business life and later years 3
- Namesake 4
Electoral history 5
- New York gubernatorial elections, 1918–1926 5.1
- United States presidential election, 1928 5.2
- In popular culture 6
- See also 7
- References 8
- Works 9
- Further reading 10
- External links 11
Smith was born and raised in the Fourth Ward on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and it was here he would spend his entire life. His mother, Catherine (Mulvihill), was the daughter of Maria Marsh and Thomas Mulvihill, who were from County Westmeath, Ireland. His father, Alfred Emanuele Ferraro, took the name Alfred E. Smith ('ferraro' means 'blacksmith' or 'smith' in Italian). The elder Alfred was the son of Italian and German immigrants. He served with the 11th New York Fire Zouaves in the opening months of the Civil War.
Al Smith grew up in the Gilded Age as New York itself matured. The Brooklyn Bridge was being constructed nearby. "The Brooklyn Bridge and I grew up together," Smith would later recall. His four grandparents were Irish, German, Italian, and Anglo-Irish, but Smith identified with the Irish American community and became its leading spokesman in the 1920s.
His father Alfred owned a small trucking firm, but died when the boy was 13. At 14 he had to drop out of St. James parochial school to help support the family, working at a fish market for seven years. Prior to his dropping out of school, he spent time as an altar boy, and was strongly influenced by the priests he worked with. He never attended high school or college and claimed he learned about people by studying them at the Fulton Fish Market, where he worked for $12 per week. His acting skills made him a success on the amateur theater circuit. He became widely known, and developed the smooth oratorical style that characterized his political career. On May 6, 1900, Al Smith married Catherine Ann Dunn, with whom he had five children.
In his political career, Smith traded on his working-class beginnings, identifying himself with immigrants and campaigning as a man of the people. Although indebted to the Tammany Hall political machine, particularly to its boss, "Silent" Charlie Murphy, he remained untarnished by corruption and worked for the passage of progressive legislation. It was during his early unofficial jobs with Tammany Hall that he gained notoriety as an excellent speaker. Smith's first political job was in 1895 as an investigator in the office of the Commissioner of Jurors as appointed by Tammany Hall.
He was a member of the New York State Assembly (New York Co., 2nd D.) in 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914 and 1915. After being approached by Frances Perkins, he sought to improve the conditions of factory workers. He served as vice chairman of the commission appointed to investigate factory conditions after 146 workers died in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. Meeting the families of the deceased Triangle factory workers left a strong impression on him, and together with Perkins, Smith crusaded against dangerous and unhealthy workplace conditions and championed corrective legislation. The Commission was chaired by State Senator Robert F. Wagner and cochaired by Smith. They held a series of widely publicized investigations around the state, interviewing 222 witnesses and taking 3500 pages of testimony. They hired field agents to do on-site inspections of factories.They started with the issue of fire safety and moved on to broader issues of the risks of injury in the factory environment. Their findings led to thirty-eight new laws regulating labor in New York state, and gave each of them a reputation as leading progressive reformers working on behalf of the working class. In the process, they changed Tammany's reputation from mere corruption to progressive endeavors to help the workers. New York City's Fire Chief John Kenlon told the investigators that his department had identified more than 200 factories where conditions made a fire like that at the Triangle Factory possible. The State Commissions's reports helped modernize the state's labor laws, making New York State "one of the most progressive states in terms of labor reform." New laws mandated better building access and egress, fireproofing requirements, the availability of fire extinguishers, the installation of alarm systems and automatic sprinklers, better eating and toilet facilities for workers, and limited the number of hours that women and children could work. In the years from 1911 to 1913, sixty of the sixty-four new laws recommended by the Commission were legislated with the support of Governor William Sulzer.
In 1911, the Democrats obtained a majority of seats in the State Assembly; and Smith became Majority Leader and Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means. In 1912, following the loss of the majority, he became the Minority Leader. When the Democrats reclaimed the majority after the next election, he was elected Speaker for the 1913 session. He became Minority Leader again in 1914 and 1915. In November 1915, he was elected Sheriff of New York County. By now he was a leader of the Progressive movement in New York City and state. His campaign manager and top aide was Belle Moskowitz, a daughter of Jewish immigrants.
After serving in the patronage-rich job of sheriff of New York County, Smith was elected President of the Board of Aldermen of the City of New York in 1917. Smith was elected Governor of New York at the New York state election, 1918 with the help of Murphy and James A. Farley, who brought Smith the upstate vote.
In 1919, Smith gave the famous speech, "A man as low and mean as I can picture", making a drastic break with William Randolph Hearst. Publisher Hearst, known for his notoriously sensationalist and largely left-wing position in the state Democratic Party, was the leader of its populist wing in the city. Hearst had combined with Tammany Hall in electing the local administration. Hearst had attacked Smith for starving children by not reducing the cost of milk.
Smith lost his bid for re-election at the New York state election, 1920, but was again elected governor at the elections in 1922, 1924 and 1926 with James A. Farley managing his campaign. In his 1922 re-election, he embraced his position as an anti-prohibitionist; Smith offered alcohol to guests at the Executive Mansion in Albany, and actually repealed the Prohibition enforcement statute: the Mullan-Gage law. Governor Smith became known nationally as a progressive who sought to make government more efficient and more effective in meeting social needs. Smith's young assistant Robert Moses built the nation's first state park system and reformed the civil service, later gaining appointment as Secretary of State of New York. During Smith's term, New York strengthened laws governing workers' compensation, women's pensions and children and women's labor with the help of Frances Perkins, soon to be President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Labor Secretary.
At the 1924 Democratic National Convention, Smith unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for president, advancing the cause of civil liberty by decrying lynching and racial violence. Roosevelt made the nominating speech in which he saluted Smith as "the Happy Warrior of the political battlefield." Smith represented the urban, east coast wing of the party as an anti-prohibition "wet" candidate while his main rival for the nomination, California Senator William Gibbs McAdoo, stood for the more rural tradition and prohibition "dry" candidacy. The party was hopelessly split between the two and an increasingly chaotic convention balloted 100 times before both accepted they would not be able to win the two-thirds majority required to win and so withdrew. The exhausted party then nominated the little-known John W. Davis of West Virginia. Davis went on to lose the election by a landslide to the Republican Calvin Coolidge. Undeterred, Smith fought a determined campaign for the party's nomination in 1928.
It was reporter Frederick William Wile who made the oft-repeated observation that Smith was defeated by "the three P's: Prohibition, Prejudice and Prosperity". The Republican Party was still benefitting from an economic boom and a failure to reapportion congress and the electoral college with the results of the 1920 census which registered a 15 percent increase in the urban population. Their presidential candidate Herbert Hoover did little to alter these events.
The Republican Party was benefitting from an economic boom and historians agree that the prosperity along with anti-Catholic sentiment made Hoover's election inevitable. He defeated Smith by a landslide in the 1928 election.
Smith's Catholic beliefs played a key role in his loss of the election of 1928. Many feared that he would answer to the pope and not the Constitution. His close association with Tammany Hall, the Democratic machine in Manhattan, opened the issue of tolerating corruption in government. Another major controversial issue was the continuation of Prohibition. Smith was personally in favor of relaxation or repeal of Prohibition laws despite its status as part of the nation's Constitution, but the Democratic Party split north and south on the issue. During the campaign Smith tried to duck the issue with noncommittal statements.
Smith was an articulate proponent of good government and efficiency, as was Hoover. Smith swept the entire Catholic vote, which had been split in 1920 and 1924 and brought millions of Catholics to the polls for the first time, especially women. He lost important Democratic constituencies in the rural north and in southern cities and suburbs. He did carry the Deep South, thanks in part to his running mate, Senator Joseph Robinson from Arkansas and he carried the ten most populous cities in the United States. Some of Smith's losses can be attributed to fear that as President, Smith would answer to the Pope rather than to the Constitution, to fears of the power of New York City, to distaste for the long history of corruption associated with Tammany Hall, as well as to Smith's own mediocre campaigning. Smith's campaign theme song, "The Sidewalks of New York", was not likely to appeal to rural folks and his city accent on the "raddio" seemed slightly foreign. Although Smith narrowly lost New York state, his fellow Democrat Roosevelt was elected to replace him as governor of New York. James A. Farley left Smith's camp to run Franklin D. Roosevelt's successful campaign for Governor and later Roosevelt's successful campaigns for the Presidency in 1932 and 1936.
Some political scientists believe that the 1928 election started a voter realignment that helped develop the New Deal coalition of Franklin D. Roosevelt. As one political scientist explains, "...not until 1928, with the nomination of Al Smith, a northeastern reformer, did Democrats make gains among the urban, blue-collar and Catholic voters who were later to become core components of the New Deal coalition and break the pattern of minimal class polarization that had characterized the Fourth Party System." However, Allan Lichtman's quantitative analysis suggests that the 1928 results were based largely on religion and are not a useful barometer of the voting patterns of the New Deal era.
Finan (2003) says Smith is an underestimated symbol of the changing nature of American politics in the first half of the last century. He represented the rising ambitions of urban, industrial America at a time when the hegemony of rural, agrarian America was in decline. He was connected to the hopes and aspirations of immigrants, especially Catholics and Jews. Smith was a devout Catholic, but his struggles against religious bigotry were often misinterpreted when he fought the religiously inspired Protestant morality imposed by prohibitionists.
Opposition to Roosevelt and the New Deal
Smith felt slighted by Roosevelt during the latter's governorship. They became rivals for the 1932 Democratic presidential nomination. At the convention, Smith's animosity toward Roosevelt was so great, he put aside longstanding rivalries and managed to work with William McAdoo and William Randolph Hearst to try to block FDR's nomination for several ballots. This unlikely coalition fell apart when Smith refused to work on finding a compromise candidate and instead maneuvered to make himself the nominee. After losing the nomination, Smith eventually campaigned for Roosevelt in 1932, giving a particularly important speech on behalf of the Democratic nominee at Boston on October 27 in which he "pulled out all the stops."
Smith became highly critical of Roosevelt's Conservative Democrats who disapproved of Roosevelt's New Deal measures founded the group. In 1934, Smith joined forces with wealthy business executives, who provided most of the league's funds. The league published pamphlets and sponsored radio programs, arguing that the New Deal was destroying personal liberty. However, the league failed to gain support in the 1934 and 1936 elections and it rapidly declined in influence. The league was officially dissolved in 1940.
Smith's antipathy to Roosevelt and his policies was so great that he supported Republican presidential candidates Alfred M. Landon (in the 1936 election) and Wendell Willkie (in the 1940 election). Although personal resentment was one motivating factor in Smith's break with Roosevelt and the New Deal, Smith was consistent in his beliefs and politics. Finan (2003) argues Smith always believed in social mobility, economic opportunity, religious tolerance and individualism. Strangely enough, Smith and Eleanor Roosevelt remained close. In 1936, while Smith was in Washington making a vehement radio attack on the President, she invited him to stay at the White House. To avoid embarrassing the Roosevelts, he declined.
Business life and later years
After the 1928 election, Smith became the president of Empire State, Inc., the corporation that built and operated the Empire State Building. Construction for the building was commenced symbolically on March 17, 1930, per Smith's instructions. Smith's grandchildren cut the ribbon when the world's tallest skyscraper—built in only 13 months—opened on May 1, 1931—May Day. As with the Brooklyn Bridge, which Smith witnessed being built from his Lower East Side boyhood home, the Empire State Building was a vision and an achievement constructed by combining the interests of all rather than being divided by interests of a few.
Smith was elected as President of the Board of Trustees of the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University, in 1929.
Like most New York City businessmen, Smith enthusiastically supported World War II, but was not asked by Roosevelt to play any role in the war effort.
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 Gentleman of His Holiness.
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, on May 4, 1944. He is interred at Calvary Cemetery.
- Alfred E. Smith Building, a 1928 skyscraper in Albany, New York
- Governor Alfred E. Smith Houses, a public housing development in Lower Manhattan, near his birthplace
- Governor Alfred E. Smith Park, a playground in the Two Bridges neighborhood in Manhattan, near his birthplace
- Governor Alfred E. Smith, a former front line and current reserve fireboat in the New York City Fire Department fleet.
- Governor Alfred E. Smith Sunken Meadow State Park, a state park on Long Island
- Alfred E. Smith Recreation Center, a youth activity center in the Two Bridges neighborhood, Manhattan.
- PS 163 Alfred E. Smith School, a school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan
- PS 1 Alfred E. Smith School, a school in Manhattan's Chinatown.
- Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School in the South Bronx.
- Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, a fundraiser held for Catholic Charities and a stop on the presidential campaign trail
- Smith Hall, a residence hall at Hinman College, SUNY Binghamton.
- Smith Hall, a residence hall at Farmingdale State College
- Camp Smith, a State owned military installation of the New York Army National Guard in Cortlandt Manor near Peekskill, NY, about 30 miles (48 km) north of New York City, at the northern border of Westchester County and consists of 1,900 acres (7.7 km2).
New York gubernatorial elections, 1918–1926
|Governor candidate||Running Mate||Party||Popular Vote|
|Alfred E. Smith||Harry C. Walker||Democratic||1,009,936||(47.37%)|
|Charles S. Whitman||
Edward Schoeneck (Republican),
Mamie W. Colvin (Prohibition)
|Charles Wesley Ervin||Ella Reeve Bloor||Socialist||121,705||(5.71%)|
|Olive M. Johnson||August Gillhaus||Socialist Labor||5,183||(0.24%)|
- This was the first time women voted for governor of New York and Alfred E. Smith was the first governor elected with more than 1 million votes. However given the much-expanded electorate, his historic total won him only a plurality of votes.
- For comparison, in the New York Gubernatorial Election of 1916, Charles S. Whitman (whom Smith defeated in 1918) had won a 52.63% majority with only 850,020 votes.
- The total ballots cast for governor was 2,192,970. Besides the votes for the above candidates, there were 43,630 blank votes, 16,892 spoilt votes and 530 scattering votes.
|Governor candidate||Running Mate||Party||Popular Vote|
|Nathan L. Miller||Jeremiah Wood||Republican||1,335,878||(46.58%)|
|Alfred E. Smith||George R. Fitts||Democratic||1,261,812||(44.00%)|
|Joseph D. Cannon||Jessie Wallace Hughan||Socialist||159,804||(5.57%)|
|Dudley Field Malone||Farmer-Labor||69,908||(2.44%)|
|George F. Thompson||Edward G. Deltrich||Prohibition||35,509||(1.24%)|
|John P. Quinn||Socialist Labor||5,015||(0.17%)|
|Governor candidate||Running Mate||Party||Popular Vote|
|Alfred E. Smith||George R. Lunn||Democratic||1,397,670||(55.21%)|
|Nathan L. Miller||William J. Donovan||Republican||1,011,725||(39.97%)|
|Edward F. Cassidy||Theresa B. Wiley||
|George K. Hinds||William C. Ramsdell||Prohibition||9,499||(0.38%)|
|Jeremiah D. Crowley||John E. DeLee||Socialist Labor||9,499||(0.38%)|
|Governor candidate||Running Mate||Party||Popular Vote|
|Alfred E. Smith||George R. Lunn||Democratic||1,627,111||(49.96%)|
|Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.||Seymour Lowman||Republican||1,518,552||(46.63%)|
|Norman Mattoon Thomas||Charles Solomon||Socialist||99,854||(3.07%)|
|James P. Cannon||Franklin P. Brill||Workers||6,395||(0.20%)|
|Frank E. Passonno||Milton Weinberger||Socialist Labor||4,931||(0.15%)|
Note: This was the last time the running mate of the elected governor was defeated, Democrat Smith having Republican Lowman as lieutenant for the duration of this term.
|Governor candidate||Running Mate||Party||Popular Vote|
|Alfred E. Smith||Edwin Corning||Democratic||1,523,813||(52.13%)|
|Ogden L. Mills||Seymour Lowman||Republican||1,276,137||(43.80%)|
|Jacob Panken||August Claessens||Socialist||83,481||(2.87%)|
|Charles E. Manierre||Ella McCarthy||Prohibition||21,285||(0.73%)|
|Benjamin Gitlow||Franklin P. Brill||Workers||5,507||(0.19%)|
|Jeremiah D. Crowley||John E. DeLee||Socialist Labor||3,553||(0.12%)|
United States presidential election, 1928
|Presidential candidate||Party||Home state||Popular vote||
|Count||Pct||Vice-presidential candidate||Home state||Elect. vote|
|Herbert Hoover||Republican||California||21,427,123||58.2%||444||Charles Curtis||Kansas||444|
|Alfred E. Smith||Democratic||New York||15,015,464||40.8%||87||Joseph Taylor Robinson||Arkansas||87|
|Norman Thomas||Socialist||New York||267,478||0.7%||0||James H. Maurer||Pennsylvania||0|
|William Z. Foster||Communist||Illinois||48,551||0.1%||0||Benjamin Gitlow||New York||0|
|Needed to win||266||266|
- Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. 1928 Presidential Election Results. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections (July 28, 2005).
- Source (Electoral Vote): Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (July 28, 2005).
In popular culture
- In Harry Turtledove's alternate history Southern Victory Series, in which the Confederate States of America wins the American Civil War, Al Smith has an important, surprising role in the later volumes of the series.
- Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt were filmed by Lee DeForest in his DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film process during the 1924 Democratic Convention, which ran from June 21 to July 9. This film is now in the Maurice Zouary collection at the Library of Congress.
- In Sinclair Lewis' 1928 novel The Man Who Knew Coolidge, Smith is cited as an example of the opportunities "in this new and increasingly practical America for any bright fellow today!" (p. 269).
- In a flashback scene in Frank Capra's classic 1946 movie It's a Wonderful Life, the character of Bert can be seen with a newspaper whose front page headline reads "Smith Wins Nomination".
- Smith was portrayed by Alan Bunce in the 1960 film Sunrise at Campobello, and by Wilbur Fitzgerald in HBO's 2005 TV-movie Warm Springs. Both of these movies focus on Franklin D. Roosevelt's struggle with polio, and end with the 1924 Convention Speech.
- Smith is featured in several chapters of Michael Chabon's 2000 novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, in his role as "President" of the Empire State Building.
- In Episodes 3–5 of Ric Burns' 1999 PBS mini-series, New York: A Documentary Film.
- Daniel Okrent, Last Call, 2010.
- Slayton (2001), p. 16
- Josephsons 1969
- Slayton 2001, ch 1-4
- Robert Ferdinand Wagner" in Dictionary of American Biography (1977)
- New York Times: "Factory Firetraps Found by Hundreds," October 14, 1911,
- Richard A. Greenwald, The Triangle Fire, the Protocols of Peace, and Industrial Democracy in Progressive Era New York (2005), 128
- The Economist, "Triangle Shirtwaist: The birth of the New Deal", March 19, 2011, p. 39.
- Slayton, Empire Statesman (2001) pp 92-92
- reprinted 1977, John A. Ryan, "Religion in the Election of 1928," Current History, December 1928; reprinted in Ryan, Questions of the Day (Ayer Publishing, 1977) p.91
- William E. Leuchtenburg, The Perils of Prosperity, 1914–32 (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1958) pp. 225–240.
- Lichtman (1979)
- Slayton 2001; Lichtman (1979)
- Degler (1964)
- Lawrence (1996) p 34.
- Lichtman (1976)
- J. Joseph Huthmacher, Massachusetts People and Politics: The transition from Republican to Democratic dominance and its national implications (1973) p. 248.
- George Wolfskill. The Revolt of the Conservatives: A History of the American Liberty League, 1934–1940. (Houghton Mifflin, 1962).
- Jordan A. Schwarz, "Al Smith in the Thirties." New York History (1964): 316-330. in JSTOR
- Reznikoff, Charles, ed. 1957. Louis Marshall: Champion of Liberty. Selected Papers and Addresses. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, p. 1123.
- Election result in NYT on December 31, 1918
- Campaign Addresses of Governor Alfred E. Smith, Democratic Candidate for President 1928. Washington, DC: Democratic National Committee, 1929.
- Progressive Democracy: Addresses & State Papers. 1928.
- Up to Now: An Autobiography (The Viking Press, 1929)
- Bornet, Vaughn Davis. Labor Politics in a Democratic Republic: Moderation, Division, and Disruption in the Presidential Election of 1928 (1964) online edition
- Chiles, Robert. "Working-Class Conservationism in New York: Governor Alfred E. Smith and 'The Property of the People of the State'" Environmental History (2013) 18#1 pp: 157-183.
- Colburn, David R. "Governor Alfred E. Smith and the Red Scare, 1919-20," Political Science Quarterly, vol. 88, no. 3 (Sept. 1973), pp. 423–444. In JSTOR.
- Craig, Douglas B. After Wilson: The Struggle for Control of the Democratic Party, 1920–1934 (1992)online edition see Chap. 6 "The Problem of Al Smith" and Chap. 8 "'Wall Street Likes Al Smith': The Election of 1928"
- ; review of Lichtman
- online edition
- Rulli, Daniel F. "Campaigning in 1928: Chickens in Pots and Cars in Backyards," Teaching History: A Journal of Methods, Vol. 31#1 pp 42+ (2006) online version with lesson plans for class
- Schwarz, Jordan A. "Al Smith in the Thirties." New York History (1964): 316-330. in JSTOR
- , the standard scholarly biography
- Stonecash, Jeffrey M., et al. "Politics, Alfred Smith, and Increasing the Power of the New York Governor's Office." New York History (2004): 149-179. in JSTOR
- Sweeney, James R. "Rum, Romanism, and Virginia Democrats: The Party Leaders and the Campaign of 1928." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 90 (October 1982): 403–31.
- Al Smith Grave
- A film clip "Al Smith Hails End of Dry Law, 1933/11/13 (1933)" is available for free download at the Internet Archive
- , May 13, 2001.Empire Statesman: The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith interview with Robert Slayton on Booknotes
- "Al Smith, Presidential Contender" from C-SPAN's The Contenders
- Finding aid for the Alfred E. Smith Papers at the Museum of the City of New York\
- Alfred E. Smith - The People's Politician? from the Museum of the City of New York Collections blog