Early, Steve Tyree [Deputy Secretary of Defense]


Stephen Early

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Stephen Early
Portrait of Stephen T. Early.jpg
3rd White House Press Secretary
In office
December 5, 1950  December 18, 1950
President Harry Truman
Preceded by Charlie Ross
Succeeded by Joseph Short
In office
March 4, 1933  March 29, 1945
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded by Theodore Joslin
Succeeded by Jonathan W. Daniels
United States Deputy Secretary of Defense
In office
May 2, 1949  September 30, 1950
President Harry Truman
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Robert A. Lovett
Personal details
Born Stephen Tyree Early
(1889-08-27)August 27, 1889
Crozet, Virginia, U.S.
Died August 11, 1951(1951-08-11) (aged 61)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Democratic

Stephen Tyree Early (August 27, 1889 August 11, 1951) was a U.S. journalist and government official. He served as White House Press Secretary under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933 to 1945 and again under President Harry S. Truman in 1950 after the sudden death of Charles Griffith Ross. Early served as press secretary longer than any other person.


Early met Franklin D. Roosevelt while covering the 1912 Democratic National Convention as a reporter for the United Press. From 1913 to 1917 Early was the Associated Press correspondent covering the Navy Department, during which time his acquaintance with Roosevelt and Louis Howe grew.

After serving in World War I with an Infantry Regiment and the Stars and Stripes he returned to the United States and was asked by Roosevelt to be the advance man for the 1920 Vice Presidential campaign. After the election, Early returned to the Associated Press, and in 1927 became the Washington representative of Paramount News, a newsreel company at the time.

White House Press Secretary (Roosevelt and Truman Administrations)

After the election of 1932, Franklin Roosevelt asked him to serve as one of the three White House Secretaries, responsible for press relations. Early held that post throughout the Roosevelt years. As press secretary, he served as spokesman and troubleshooter for the president and maintained an open-door policy with White House correspondents. Having been a reporter, he understood the news business and did his best to accommodate it. Early also helped persuade the White House Correspondents Association to issue press credentials to Harry McAlpin of the National Negro Publishers Association. In 1944 McAlpin became the first African American reporter to attend presidential press conferences.

Commercial and Defense appointments

In 1945 he became Vice President of Pullman, Inc..

He returned to the government as Under Secretary, later Deputy Secretary of Defense from April 1949 to June 1950. [????? or May 2, 1949  September 30, 1950 ?????]

White House Press Secretary (2nd appointment to Truman Administration)

In December 1950 Early was briefly Press Secretary to President Truman, filling in after the sudden death of Charles G. Ross.


Early died at George Washington Hospital on August 11, 1951. He had suffered a heart attack a week prior, and despite signs of recovery, had a turn for the worse. It was reported that he died at about one in the afternoon. Survivors included the former Helen Wrenn, whom he married in 1921, two sons and a daughter. Harry Truman issued a statement calling him "an outstanding newspaper man" and "always on the side of President Roosevelt." Defense Secretary George Marshall said in a statement that he was "very distressed" at the news of his death and he "served his country faithfully for many years." The full statements and other information on his life can be found in his New York Times obituary, printed on August 12, 1951.

In 1969, his widow donated his papers to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, where they could be accessed by the public.