|91st Mayor of Philadelphia|
January 2, 1956 –February 12, 1962
|Preceded by||Joe Clark|
|Succeeded by||James Tate|
|16th District Attorney of Philadelphia|
January 7, 1952 –January 2, 1956
|Preceded by||John Maurer|
|Succeeded by||Victor Blanc|
|Born||August 29, 1898|
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||January 23, 1974 75)(aged|
Ann Elizabeth Kaufman
|Alma mater||Yale University|
|Branch/service||United States Marine Corps|
|Battles/wars|| World War I |
World War II
Richardson K. Dilworth (August 29, 1898 – January 23, 1974)was an American Democratic Party politician who served as the 117th mayor of Philadelphia from 1956 to 1962. He twice ran as the Democratic nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, in 1950 and in 1962. He is to date the last White Anglo-Saxon Protestant mayor of Philadelphia.
He was born in Pittsburgh to Joseph Richardson Dilworth and Annie Hunter (Wood) Dilworth. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in World War I and was commissioned as an officer in World War II. In 1938, he joined the law firm of Dilworth Paxson. [ citation needed ]In 1921 he graduated from Yale University, where he was a member of Scroll and Key and Delta Kappa Epsilon, and lettered for the varsity football team. In 1926 he graduated from Yale Law School, afterwards becoming an attorney in Philadelphia. On August 6, 1935, he married Ann Elizabeth Kaufman. They had a daughter, Deborah, and a son, Richardson Jr.
Dilworth had grown up as a Republican, but became a Democrat out of frustration with the city's longstanding Republican machine. Along with Joe Clark and others, he was at the forefront of a post-World War II reform movement in Philadelphia that led to the adoption of a modern city charter that consolidated city and county offices and introduced civil service examinations on a broad scale to replace much of the existing patronage system.[ citation needed ]
Dilworth initially ran for mayor in 1947 against incumbent Republican Barney Samuel. Samuel was seeking his second full term in office, after assuming office following the death of Robert Lamberton in 1941. Dilworth was ultimately defeated by over 90,000 votes; [ citation needed ]however, the election marked the last time, to date, that a Republican was elected mayor of Philadelphia. In 1949, Dilworth was elected city treasurer, while Clark was elected city controller. Dilworth ran for governor in the 1950 election, losing a close race to John Fine. In 1951, he was elected Philadelphia District Attorney, while Clark was elected mayor. Clark and Dilworth's inaugurations ended a 67-year period of uninterrupted Republican control of the city (and instituted a period of uninterrupted Democratic control which has persisted past 2017). In 1955, Dilworth was elected mayor, defeating Thacher Longstreth.
During their tenures as mayor, Clark and Dilworth introduced a variety of reforms and innovations. Among these was extensive high-rise public housing which would, a generation later, be condemned by many as a breeding ground for poverty and crime. However, they also greatly strengthened the city planning function of Philadelphia city government. Both retained Edmund Bacon as executive director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, and the Clark-Dilworth era is recognized as a high-water mark for planning, during which the decline of Center City Philadelphia as a commercial and residential center was reversed and priority was given (particularly during Dilworth's administration) to saving the city's historic and irreplaceable Society Hill district. Dilworth resigned as mayor on February 12, 1962, to launch a second bid for governor.
Despite President John F. Kennedy's work on his behalf, Dilworth lost the fall general election by a half million votes to progressive Republican Congressman Bill Scranton, in what scholars considered "one of the bitterest [campaigns] in Pennsylvania history." Scranton had run for governor (with fellow progressive Raymond P. Shafer for lieutenant governor) after a deeply divisive Republican primary involving Philadelphia Republican boss Billy Meehan's candidate, Judge Robert E. Woodside; and five other candidates. Republicans also carried both houses of the state legislature in that landslide election.
With his wife, Ann Dilworth, he was a passenger on the SS Andrea Doria, an ocean liner that collided with the MS Stockholm near Nantucket, Massachusetts, on July 25, 1956, and subsequently sank.They were saved, and Dilworth was on board the last lifeboat that was picked up by the SS Île de France.
Following his tenure as mayor, Dilworth served as partner in the Philadelphia-based law firm of Dilworth Paxson LLP, which bears his name. He also served as president of the Philadelphia School Board, and in 1971 was appointed one of two bankruptcy trustees (along with Andrew Lewis) for the Reading Company, a railroad company headquartered in Philadelphia.[ citation needed ]
Dilworth Park, adjacent to Philadelphia City Hall, is named in his honor.
James Hugh Joseph Tate was an American politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the 92nd Mayor of Philadelphia from 1962 to 1972. He was also a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Philadelphia City Council. He was the first Roman Catholic to serve as mayor of Philadelphia.
Joseph Sill Clark Jr. 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.
William Warren Scranton was an American Republican Party politician and diplomat. Scranton served as the 38th Governor of Pennsylvania from 1963 to 1967, and as United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 1976 to 1977. "Many who serve as governor today are still measured against Bill Scranton's leadership - some 50 years later," said former state Republican National Committeewoman Elsie Hillman when she learned of Scranton's death in 2013.
Bernard "Barney" Samuel was a Republican politician who served as the 115th Mayor of Philadelphia from 1941 to 1952. He is to date the last Republican elected mayor of Philadelphia.
William H. Milliken Jr. was an American politician from Pennsylvania who served as a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district from 1959 to 1965. He served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for Delaware County from 1943 to 1946 and from 1949 to 1950.
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.
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.
Victor Hugo Blanc was a Democratic lawyer and politician from Philadelphia.
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.
William Aloysius Dwyer Jr. was an American lawyer, judge, and Democratic politician from Philadelphia. He served on the Philadelphia City Council from 1960 to 1963 and on the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas from 1967 until his death in 1982.
Philadelphia's municipal election of November 7, 1961, involved the election of the district attorney, city controller, and several judgeships. Democrats swept all of the city races but saw their vote totals much reduced from those of four years earlier, owing to a growing graft scandal in city government. District Attorney James C. Crumlish, Jr. and City Controller Alexander Hemphill, both incumbents, were returned to office. Several ballot questions were also approved, including one permitting limited sales of alcohol on Sundays.
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.
Francis Daniel Pastorius, V was a Philadelphia attorney and Republican politician.
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.
James T. McDermott was a Pennsylvania judge and politician who served on the state's Supreme Court from 1981 until his death in 1992. Before joining the court, he was active in Philadelphia politics as a Republican candidate for Congress in 1958, city council in 1962, and mayor in 1963. He was a trial court judge on the Court of Common Pleas from 1965 to 1981.
Joseph John Hersch was a Democratic politician from Philadelphia who served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and as a city magistrate before being elected to the Philadelphia City Council.
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