Skip to main content

Near the Summit (Al Smith)

Rollin Kirby, 1875 - 1952
Alfred Emanuel Smith, 30 Dec 1873 - 4 Oct 1944
c. 1928
Crayon and pencil on paper
Image: 36.5 x 38.1cm (14 3/8 x 15")
Sheet: 40.7 x 38.1cm (16 x 15")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9cm (28 x 22")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© Rollin Kirby
Object number
Exhibition Label
In 1928, Franklin Roosevelt dubbed Al Smith, with his derby hat and ever-present cigar, the "happy warrior." As governor of New York, Smith sought to make government more responsive to immigrants and the poor by restricting working hours for women and children, increasing education funds, and building low-cost housing. As an urban progressive, he favored a large government role in solving social and economic problems. In the divisive issue of Prohibition, Smith opposed the Eighteenth Amendment, while many western and southern progressives viewed its ban on alcoholic beverages as an important reform. Smith's losing bid for the presidency, in which rural progressives held his Irish ethnicity and Catholicism against him, is often credited with making way for the New Deal, a program Smith opposed as a threat to freedom.
Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Rollin Kirby published this drawing in the New York World.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
United States\New York\Kings\New York