Joseph S. Clark Jr.
| United States Senator |
January 3, 1957 –January 3, 1969
|Preceded by||James Duff|
|Succeeded by||Richard Schweiker|
|90th Mayor of Philadelphia|
January 7, 1952 –January 2, 1956
|Preceded by||Bernard Samuel|
|Succeeded by||Richardson Dilworth|
Joseph Sill Clark Jr.
October 21, 1901
|Died||January 12, 1990 88) (aged|
|Republican (until 1928)|
|Alma mater|| Harvard University |
University of Pennsylvania School of Law
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Branch/service||United States Army Air Forces|
|Years of service||1941 – 1945|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Joseph Sill Clark Jr. (October 21, 1901 –January 12, 1990) was an American author, lawyer and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the 116th Mayor of Philadelphia from 1952 to 1956 and as a United States Senator from Pennsylvania from 1957 to 1969. Clark was the only Unitarian Universalist elected to a major office in Pennsylvania in the modern era.
The son of attorney and tennis player Joseph Sill Clark Sr., Clark pursued a legal career in Philadelphia after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He became involved in a reform movement that sought to break the power of the city's Republican political machine. After serving in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, Clark won election as city controller in 1949. In this capacity, he investigated and publicized scandals in the city government. In 1951, Clark won election as Mayor of Philadelphia, becoming the first Democrat to do so since 1884. As mayor, he sought to reduce corruption in city government and created low-income housing projects.
After one term as mayor, Clark narrowly defeated incumbent Republican Senator James H. Duff in the 1956 Senate election. Clark earned a reputation as a strong supporter of civil rights and worked to appoint liberal committee members from his perch on the Democratic Steering Committee. Clark narrowly won re-election in 1962 but was defeated in 1968 by Congressman Richard Schweiker. His defeat is generally credited to his support of gun control and opposition to the Vietnam War. After leaving office, Clark became a professor at Temple University.
One of two children, Joseph Clark was born in Philadelphia to Joseph Sill Clark Sr. and Kate Richardson Avery.His father, a longtime lawyer in the Germantown section of the city, was also a national tennis champion who won the 1885 U.S. National Championship in doubles with Dick Sears. His mother, whose family owned Avery Island in Louisiana, was the niece of Edmund McIlhenny, the inventor of Tabasco sauce. Clark was raised in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, and received his early education at Chestnut Hill Academy. He then attended Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, where he played on the school's baseball and football teams. He graduated from Middlesex in 1919 as class valedictorian.
Clark studied at Harvard University, where he was a member of the baseball and track teams.He won several prizes, including the John Harvard scholarship for high academic distinction. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude in 1923 with a Bachelor of Science degree in government, history and economics. Clark, who had spent time at the Bar B C Dude Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, became a partner in the nearby Double Diamond Dude Ranch in 1924. He later returned to Philadelphia and enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was a member of St. Anthony Hall and editor of the Law Review . He earned his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1926.
In December 1926, Clark was admitted to the bar and became an associate with his father's law firm of Clark, Clark, McCarthy and Wagner.That same year, he made his first entry into politics when he unsuccessfully ran as a progressive candidate for Republican committeeman. In 1928, he left the Republican Party and became a Democrat, supporting Al Smith in that year's presidential election.
During the 1928 election, Clark founded the Democratic Warriors Club with Richardson Dilworth, beginning a long political partnership between the two.Both men became active in the reform movement to end corruption in city government, which was long controlled by a Republican machine. Clark was an unsuccessful candidate for the Philadelphia City Council in 1933, with Dilworth serving as his campaign manager. The following year, he joined the firm of Dechert, Bok, Smith and Clark, and continued to practice law for seven years. He managed Dilworth's unsuccessful campaign for the Pennsylvania State Senate in 1934. From 1934 to 1935, he served as Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania. In this capacity, he engaged in trial work related to the closing of banks.
In August 1941, Clark enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces (AAF) and was assigned as a captain in the Officers' Reserve Corps Headquarters at Washington, D.C.He later became director of the Organizational Planning Headquarters with the AAF. Following the entry of the United States into World War II, he was transferred to the China Burma India Theater as deputy chief of staff to General George E. Stratemeyer. He briefly served as acting chief of staff to General Stratemeyer, and attained the rank of colonel on October 15, 1943. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Legion of Merit, and Military Order of the British Empire. Returning to the United States in September 1945, he accompanied General Stratemeyer to Washington, D.C., where he helped design plans to defend the nation against air raids.
Following his return to Philadelphia, Clark resumed his political activity and his partnership with Dilworth. He was manager of Dilworth's unsuccessful campaign for Mayor of Philadelphia against Republican incumbent Bernard Samuel in 1947.He then served as chairman of the citizens' committee for President Harry S. Truman in the 1948 election, and as chairman of the Philadelphia chapter of the Americans for Democratic Action from 1948 to 1949. Running as a reform Democrat, Clark was elected city controller in 1949, winning by more than 100,000 votes. Meanwhile, Dilworth was elected city treasurer by a similar margin. Serving from 1950 to 1952, Clark investigated and publicized scandals within the Republican-controlled city government, including the embezzlement of tax money and court funds, imprisonment of the fire marshal, falsification of records, and corruption in the water bureau. Many officials were impeached or indicted as a result, and nine even committed suicide.
Clark announced his candidacy for mayor of Philadelphia in May 1951.Democratic leaders had wanted Dilworth to run, but Clark released a press statement declaring his "irrevocable decision to run for mayor." Instead, Dilworth successfully ran for District Attorney of Philadelphia. Running on his record as city controller, Clark often used a broom while campaigning as a symbol of his pledge to "sweep out" corruption. His Republican challenger was Daniel A. Poling, a Baptist clergyman and editor of the Christian Herald. Clark was endorsed by several labor unions, Americans for Democratic Action, and The Philadelphia Inquirer . On November 6, 1951, he defeated Poling by 124,700 votes. With his victory, Clark became the first Democrat to be elected mayor of Philadelphia since 1884; as of 2021, no member of another party has since held the office.
Clark was inaugurated as the 90th Mayor of Philadelphia on January 7, 1952.He was the first mayor to serve under Philadelphia's Home Rule Charter, which had reorganized city government by merging Philadelphia's city and county offices, establishing a limit of two successive terms for mayor, replacing patronage with a merit system for civil servants, and giving the mayor increased administrative, legislative, and investigative powers. During his administration, he reduced corruption within the Police Department and appointed several African Americans to city jobs. He adopted a $20 million tax increase and established a pay-as-you-go system. He created low-income housing projects, also establishing the position of housing coordinator. He also refused to accept personal gifts. His tenure also saw the transformation of the Penn Center and the Philadelphia waterfront.
In 1952, Clark launched a television series Tell It To the Mayor in which he and other city officials answered questions about his administration.He endorsed Senator Estes Kefauver for the Democratic nomination in the 1952 presidential election. In 1955, he chartered the Food Distribution Center Corporation to create a new food market, and established the Urban Traffic and Transportation Board to design a mass transit system.
In 1956, Clark became the first politician to receive the Philadelphia Award for promoting good governance in the city.
Clark, who had promised to serve as mayor for only one term, did not run for re-election. As of 2021, only one other person has since served just one term as mayor: William J. Green III, who was elected in 1979.
Clark announced his candidacy for the United States Senate in 1956.After winning the Democratic nomination over the opposition of Philadelphia's party leaders, he faced first-term Republican incumbent James H. Duff, a popular former governor, in the general election. During the campaign, Clark ran on a liberal platform which included support for increasing the minimum wage, expanding Social Security, and repealing the Taft–Hartley Act. He also criticized President Dwight D. Eisenhower on international and domestic matters, and attacked Senator Duff's poor attendance record. On November 6, 1956, Clark narrowly defeated Duff by a margin of 50.1%-49.7%, winning by less than 18,000 out of 4.5 million votes cast. At the same time in the presidential election, President Eisenhower, who by this time claimed his farm in Gettysburg as his permanent address, carried Pennsylvania by well over 600,000 votes.
During his early tenure in the Senate, Clark earned a reputation as a strong supporter of civil rights and congressional reform.He sponsored the Manpower Development and Training Act and the Area Redevelopment Act. He often clashed with Lyndon B. Johnson while the latter was Senate Majority Leader. In 1962, Clark was re-elected to a second term after narrowly defeating Congressman James E. Van Zandt by a 51%-49% margin.
Clark was appointed to the Democratic Steering Committee in 1963, but conservative Southern Democrats thwarted his efforts to appoint more liberal Senators to committees.He was a critic of the Senate itself, which he called a "self-perpetuating oligarchy" in a 1963 address on the Senate floor. He challenged the seniority system and the filibuster. In 1964, he endorsed Genevieve Blatt, the state Secretary of Internal Affairs, over Judge Michael Musmanno in the Democratic senatorial primary. Clark's opposition to Musmanno was not well received by the Italian American community, who largely voted against Clark in 1968. A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he voted for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964 but soon became an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, condemning the war's escalation in 1965.
In 1968, Clark was defeated for re-election to a third term by Congressman Richard Schweiker, losing 52% to 46%.His defeat is generally ascribed to his support of gun control, especially the 1968 Gun Control Act, and opposition to the Vietnam War. His campaign chairman in 1968 was Bucks County author James A. Michener.
Following his departure from the Senate, Clark served as a professor at Temple University in 1969.He was president of World Federalists U.S.A., an organization promoting the creation of a world government, from 1969 to 1971. He also served as chairman of the Coalition on National Priorities and Military Policy, and continued to attend meetings of Members of Congress for Peace Through Law. A strong opponent of Mayor Frank Rizzo, he supported Bill Green III in the 1971 Democratic primary and then Republican W. Thacher Longstreth in the general election. He was chairman of independent candidate Charles Bowser's campaign in 1975.
Clark died at his home in Chestnut Hill, at age 88.His remains were cremated and interred at St. Thomas' Church Cemetery in Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania.
Joseph Clark was descended from a prominent financial family in Philadelphia. His great-grandfather, Enoch White Clark, was the founder of E. W. Clark & Co. [ citation needed ]Enoch's son Edward was Clark's paternal grandfather and brother of Clarence Howard Clark Sr. Clarence Sr.'s son Clarence Jr. served as president of the Centennial National Bank. Clark was the nephew of Edward Walter Clark Jr., commodore of the Philadelphia Corinthian Yacht Club and father of Edward III; Clarence Munroe Clark, a noted tennis player like his brother; and Percy Clark, a lawyer and noted cricketer. Percy's daughter Mary was married to Nelson Rockefeller from 1930 to 1962, before he served as Vice President of the United States.
Clark's paternal grandmother was the daughter of Joseph and Jane (née Todhunter) Sill, who were social reformers and leaders in antebellum Philadelphia's benevolence movement.Joseph Sill served as secretary, vice president, and president of the St. George Society of Philadelphia, an aid organization for English immigrants.
Clark was married three times and had two children. He and his first wife, Elizabeth Story Jenks, had one son, Joseph S. Clark III.He was married to his second wife, Noel Hall, from April 1935 until their divorce in September 1967. He and Noel had one daughter, Noel Clairborne Clark. Two weeks after his divorce, Clark married Iris Cole Richey, a former editor of the Pennsylvania Manual , to whom he remained married until his death.
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Joseph Sill Clark Sr. was an American tennis player. Clark won the 1885 U.S. National Championship in doubles with partner Dick Sears. He was also the inaugural singles and doubles national collegiate champion, in 1883. When he died in 1956, he was Philadelphia's oldest practicing attorney.
The 1962 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election was held on November 6. Republican Bill Scranton and Democrat Richardson Dilworth, each a member of a powerful political family, faced off in a bitter campaign.
The 1950 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election was held on November 7. For the twenty-second time in twenty-five elections, the Republican candidate was victorious, but by a much smaller than usual margin. Superior Court Judge John S. Fine defeated Democrat Richardson Dilworth, the City Controller of Philadelphia.
The 1962 United States Senate election in Pennsylvania was held on November 6, 1962. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Joseph S. Clark, Jr. successfully sought re-election to another term, defeating Republican nominee James E. Van Zandt.
The 1956 United States Senate election in Pennsylvania was held on November 6, 1956. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator James H. Duff sought re-election to another term, but was defeated by the Democratic nominee, Joseph S. Clark, Jr.
Philadelphia's municipal election held on November 6, 1951, was the first under the city's new charter, which had been approved by the voters in April, and the first Democratic victory in the city in more than a half-century. The positions contested were those of mayor and district attorney, and all seventeen city council seats. There was also a referendum on whether to consolidate the city and county governments. Citywide, the Democrats took majorities of over 100,000 votes, breaking a 67-year Republican hold on city government. Joseph S. Clark Jr. and Richardson Dilworth, two of the main movers for the charter reform, were elected mayor and district attorney, respectively. Led by local party chairman James A. Finnegan, the Democrats also took fourteen of seventeen city council seats, and all of the citywide offices on the ballot. A referendum on city-county consolidation passed by a wide margin. The election marked the beginning of Democratic dominance of Philadelphia city politics, which continues today.
Philadelphia's municipal election of November 8, 1955, involved contests for mayor, district attorney, all seventeen city council seats, among other offices. Citywide, the Democrats took majorities of over 130,000 votes, continuing their success from the elections four years earlier. Richardson Dilworth, who had been elected district attorney in 1951, was elected mayor. Victor H. Blanc, a city councilman, was elected district attorney. The Democrats also kept fourteen of seventeen city council seats, losing one district seat while gaining another, and kept control of the other citywide offices. The election represented a further consolidation of control by the Democrats after their citywide victories of four years earlier.
Philadelphia's municipal election of November 3, 1953, was the second held under the city charter of 1951 and represented the first test of the Democratic city government of Mayor Joseph S. Clark Jr. In the 1951 election, the voters had elected a Democratic mayor for the first time in 67 years, breaking the Republican hold on political power in the city. They had also elected a majority-Democratic City Council along with Democrats for district attorney and other citywide offices. In 1953, the voters had the chance to continue the Democratic trend or to block it in the election for City Controller, Register of Wills, and various judges and magistrates. On election day, the Republican organization recovered from their 1951 losses, electing all their candidates citywide. Republicans celebrated the victory, but subsequent Democratic triumphs in the 1955 and 1959 elections made the 1953 result more of an aberration than a true comeback for the once-powerful Philadelphia Republican machine.
Philadelphia's municipal election of November 5, 1957, involved the election of the district attorney, city controller, and the remainder of a term for one city council seat, as well as several row offices and judgeships. Democrats were successful citywide, continuing a run of victories racked up after the passage of a new city charter in 1951 despite growing divisions between factions of the party. Victor H. Blanc, the incumbent district attorney, led the Democratic ticket to victory. They held the city council seat and took two citywide offices that Republicans had won in 1953. In the judges' elections, most were endorsed by both parties but in the one race that pitted a Democratic candidate against a Republican, the Democrats were successful in seating their candidate, former Congressman Earl Chudoff.
Philadelphia's municipal election of November 3, 1959 involved contests for mayor, all seventeen city council seats, and several other executive and judicial offices. Citywide, the Democrats took majorities of over 200,000 votes, continuing their success from the elections four years earlier. Richardson Dilworth, who had been elected mayor in 1955, was re-elected over Republican nominee Harold Stassen. The Democrats also took fifteen of seventeen city council seats, the most seats allowed to any one party under the 1951 city charter. They further kept control of the other citywide offices. The election represented a continued consolidation of control by the Democrats after their citywide victories of the previous eight years.
Alexander Hemphill was a Democratic lawyer and politician from Philadelphia who served as City Controller from 1958 to 1968. After service in World War II and graduation from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Hemphill embarked on a legal career before running for office. In his three terms as city controller, he exposed corruption and malfeasance, often to the discomfort of his fellow Democrats. He ran for mayor of Philadelphia in 1967 against the incumbent Democrat, James H. J. Tate, but was unsuccessful, and retired to a private law practice until his death in 1986.
Philadelphia's municipal election of November 5, 1963, involved contests for mayor, all seventeen city council seats, and several other executive and judicial offices. The Democrats lost vote share citywide and the Republicans gained one seat in City Council, but the Democratic acting mayor, James Hugh Joseph Tate, was elected to a full term and his party maintained their hold on the city government. The election was the first decline in the Democrats' share of the vote since they took control of the city government in the 1951 elections, and showed the growing tension between the reformers and ward bosses within their party.
Austin Andrew Meehan, Sr., was a Republican politician in Philadelphia who served as county sheriff. Before entering politics, Meehan ran his family's paving business and was known as a local basketball star. Beginning as an insurgent within the city's Republican Party, he soon won the favor of party bosses and climbed the ranks of Philadelphia's Republican organization. Meehan served two terms as county sheriff from 1944 to 1952 and was recognized as the unofficial head of the Republican Party in Philadelphia in the 1950s. He remained an influential party member until his death in 1961. He was the father of Billy Meehan.
Joseph Sill Clark Sr., father of former Philadelphia Mayor Joseph Sill Clark Jr. and the city's oldest practicing attorney, died yesterday at his home in Chestnut Hill here. He was 94 years old. ...
House: F. Walter • H. Eberharter • R. Simpson • I. Fenton • A. Kelley • J. Van Zandt • L. Gavin • S. McConnell II • B. Corbett • H. Scott • J. Fulton • T. Morgan • P. Dague • C. Kearns • B. Barrett • B. Green II • E. Chudoff • B. James • G. Rhodes • J. Saylor • D. Flood • A. Bush • W. Mumma • J. Carrigg • J. Byrne • E. Holland • F. Clark • K. Granahan • W. Stauffer • W. Curtin • J. Lafore Jr. • J. Dent • B. Nix Sr.
House: F. Walter • R. Simpson • I. Fenton • J. Van Zandt • L. Gavin • B. Corbett • J. Fulton • T. Morgan • P. Dague • C. Kearns • B. Barrett • B. Green II • G. Rhodes • J. Saylor • D. Flood • A. Bush • W. Mumma • J. Byrne • E. Holland • F. Clark • K. Granahan • W. Curtin • J. Lafore Jr. • J. Dent • B. Nix Sr. • J. Quigley • B. Milliken Jr. • B. Moorhead • S. Prokop • H. Toll • D. Elliott • H. Schneebeli • I. Whalley
House: F. Walter • I. Fenton • J. Van Zandt • L. Gavin • B. Corbett • J. Fulton • T. Morgan • P. Dague • C. Kearns • B. Barrett • B. Green II • G. Rhodes • J. Saylor • D. Flood • J. Kunkel • W. Mumma • J. Byrne • E. Holland • F. Clark • K. Granahan • W. Curtin • J. Dent • B. Nix Sr. • B. Milliken Jr. • B. Moorhead • H. Toll • H. Schneebeli • I. Whalley • G. Goodling • R. Schweiker • B. Scranton II
House: F. Walter • L. Gavin • B. Corbett • J. Fulton • T. Morgan • P. Dague • B. Barrett • B. Green II • G. Rhodes • J. Saylor • D. Flood • J. Kunkel • J. Byrne • E. Holland • F. Clark • W. Curtin • J. Dent • B. Nix Sr. • B. Milliken Jr. • B. Moorhead • H. Toll • H. Schneebeli • I. Whalley • G. Goodling • R. Schweiker • J. McDade • J. Weaver • F. Rooney • A. Johnson • B. Green III
House: B. Corbett • J. Fulton • T. Morgan • P. Dague • B. Barrett • G. Rhodes • J. Saylor • D. Flood • J. Kunkel • J. Byrne • E. Holland • F. Clark • W. Curtin • J. Dent • B. Nix Sr. • B. Moorhead • H. Toll • H. Schneebeli • I. Whalley • R. Schweiker • J. McDade • F. Rooney • A. Johnson • B. Green III • N. Craley Jr. • J. Vigorito • G. Watkins
House: B. Corbett • J. Fulton • T. Morgan • B. Barrett • G. Rhodes • J. Saylor • D. Flood • J. Byrne • E. Holland • F. Clark • J. Dent • B. Nix Sr. • B. Moorhead • H. Schneebeli • I. Whalley • R. Schweiker • J. McDade • F. Rooney • A. Johnson • B. Green III • G. Goodling • J. Vigorito • G. Watkins • E. Biester Jr. • J. Eilberg • E. Eshleman • L. Williams • J. Gaydos