Richardson Dilworth

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Richardson Dilworth
Richardson Dilworth.jpg
Dilworth in 1961
91st Mayor of Philadelphia
In office
January 2, 1956 – February 12, 1962
Preceded byJoe Clark
Succeeded byJames Tate
16th District Attorney of Philadelphia
In office
January 7, 1952 – January 2, 1956
Preceded byJohn Maurer
Succeeded byVictor Blanc
Personal details
Born(1898-08-29)August 29, 1898
Pittsburgh
DiedJanuary 23, 1974(1974-01-23) (aged 75)
NationalityAmerican
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Ann Elizabeth Kaufman
ChildrenDeborah and Richardson, Jr.
Alma materYale University
 
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Richardson Dilworth
Richardson Dilworth.jpg
Dilworth in 1961
91st Mayor of Philadelphia
In office
January 2, 1956 – February 12, 1962
Preceded byJoe Clark
Succeeded byJames Tate
16th District Attorney of Philadelphia
In office
January 7, 1952 – January 2, 1956
Preceded byJohn Maurer
Succeeded byVictor Blanc
Personal details
Born(1898-08-29)August 29, 1898
Pittsburgh
DiedJanuary 23, 1974(1974-01-23) (aged 75)
NationalityAmerican
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Ann Elizabeth Kaufman
ChildrenDeborah and Richardson, Jr.
Alma materYale University

Richardson K. Dilworth (August 29, 1898 – January 23, 1974)[1] was an American Democratic Party politician, born in the Pittsburgh area, who served as the 91st Mayor of Philadelphia from 1956 to 1962.

Education and early career[edit]

He was born in Pittsburgh to Joseph Richardson Dilworth and Annie Hunter (Wood) Dilworth. In 1921 he graduated from Yale University, where he was a member of Scroll and Key and Delta Kappa Epsilon. He served in the Marine Corps in World Wars I and II. In 1933, he founded the law firm of Dilworth Paxson. On August 6, 1935, he married Ann Elizabeth Kaufman. They had a daughter, Deborah, and a son, Richardson, Jr.

Political career[edit]

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.

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;[2] however, the election marked the last time, to date, that a Republican was elected Mayor of Philadelphia. In 1949, he was elected City Treasurer, while Clark was elected City Controller. He ran for Governor, losing a close election in 1950 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 the year 2010). In 1955, Dilworth was elected Mayor, defeating City Councilman 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.[3] He went on to lose the fall general election to Republican Congressman Bill Scranton.

Personal[edit]

With his wife, Ann, 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.[4]

After being Mayor[edit]

Following his tenure as Mayor, he 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, the railroad company headquartered in Philadelphia.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Philadelphia Mayor". Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Politics: Another Try". Time. January 26, 1962. 
  4. ^ PBS Online - Lost Liners - Andrea Doria
Political offices
Preceded by
Joe Clark
Mayor of Philadelphia
1956–1962
Succeeded by
James Tate
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Maurer
District Attorney of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1952–1956
Succeeded by
Victor Blanc
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Rice
Democratic nominee for Governor of Pennsylvania
1950
Succeeded by
George Leader
Preceded by
David Lawrence
Democratic nominee for Governor of Pennsylvania
1962
Succeeded by
Milton Shapp