James Aloysius Farley, the son of a brickmaker, was born in Grassy Point, New York, on 30th May, 1888. His father, a strong supporter of the Democratic Party, died in 1897. He helped his mother run her grocery store before moving to New York where he attended Packard Commercial School.
Farley became active in the Democratic Party and in 1918 helped fellow Roman Catholic Alfred Smith become governor of New York. After Smith's victory he rewarded Farley with the post of New York Port warden. Eventually Farley became chairman of the party in New York.
In 1926 Farley established his own business and in 1929 became president of the General Building Supply Company. When Franklin D. Roosevelt became the Democratic Party candidate in the 1932 presidential election, he asked Farley to run his campaign. He did this successfully and was rewarded with a place in the Cabinet as Postmaster General.
Farley also managed Roosevelt's campaign in 1936 but disagreed with him serving a third-term and resigned from the government in 1940. Farley now returned to the business world and was appointed chairman of a Coco-Cola division.
Farley wrote two volumes of autobiography, Behind the Ballots: The Personal History of a Politician (1938) and Jim Farley's Story (1948).
James Aloysius Farley died in New York on 9th June, 1976.