chapter  7
25 Pages

Building the Partnership

ByElisabeth Israels Perry

Abram I. Elkus and his partner Joseph M. Proskauer adopted the idea and placed Belle Moskowitz in charge. The Women’s Division eventually became the prototype of similar divisions in the state and national Democratic parties during the 1920s and 1930s. The 1918 fall campaign was already well advanced. The commission’s committee on unemployment coordinated the efforts of relief agencies, deciding that the problem was not so much a shortage of jobs as of information. Moskowitz knew that New Yorkers would look to governor-elect Alfred E. Smith for leadership as demobilization and the return of industry to a peacetime footing. Perkins and Moskowitz drew up a plan for a “Reconstruction Commission” consisting of experts in a variety of fields who would tackle the state’s short-and long-term problems. Moskowitz had given him a ready-made slogan for his administration: Whitman had been the “war governor”; Smith would be the “reconstruction governor.”