Hubert Humphrey, Mayor, Senator, Vice President, Typist

Hubert Humphrey was born 103 years ago today. He was, I think, a genuinely great American politician.

Among the many then secret documents I came across at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library when I was an archivist there long ago, was a lengthy single-spaced typewritten memo from Vice President Humphrey to President Johnson. Humphrey had been to Vietnam and wanted to report his observations directly. Because the document was secret I couldn’t keep a copy, but I remember Humphrey being perceptive about what was really happening.

But mostly I remember the P.S. — the Vice President of the United States apologized to the President of the United States for the typing. Humphrey said he’d come into the office on Sunday and no one was available, so he had typed the memo himself.