A Chronology of Chicago's Mayors
Mayor Rahm Emanuel
This list is arranged chronologically by term of office. The number assigned to each mayor is based on the first term served. Mayors who served nonconsecutive terms will be found under the first term served. For example, Benjamin Wright Raymond, the third mayor of Chicago, was elected twice, but his second term occurred between the terms of the fifth and sixth mayors.
Entries for each mayor provide brief biographical information and images, when available. Images of all past mayors of Chicago are located on one wall of the Mayor’s Office on the fifth floor of Chicago’s City Hall.
- Ogden, William Butler 1st Mayor
- Morris, Buckner Stith 2nd Mayor
- Raymond, Benjamin Wright 3rd Mayor
- Loyd, Alexander 4th Mayor
- Sherman, Francis Cornwall 5th Mayor
- Garrett, Augustus 6th Mayor
- Sherman, Alson 7th Mayor
- Chapin, John Putnam 8th Mayor
- Curtiss, James 9th Mayor
- Woodworth, James Hutchinson 10th Mayor
- Gurnee, Walter S. 11th Mayor
- Gray, Charles McNeill 12th Mayor
- Milliken, Isaac Lawrence 13th Mayor
- Boone, Levi Day 14th Mayor
- Dyer, Thomas 15th Mayor
- Wentworth, John 16th Mayor
- Haines, John Charles 17th Mayor
- Rumsey, Julian Sidney 18th Mayor
- Rice, John Blake 19th Mayor
- Mason, Roswell B. 20th Mayor
- Medill, Joseph 21st Mayor
- Bond, Lester Legrand, Acting Mayor
- Colvin, Harvey Doolittle 22nd Mayor
- Heath, Monroe 23rd Mayor
- Harrison, Carter Henry, Sr. 24th Mayor
- Roche, John A. 25th Mayor
- Cregier, DeWitt Clinton 26th Mayor
- Washburne, Hempstead 27th Mayor
- Swift, George Bell 28th Mayor
- Hopkins, John Patrick 29th Mayor
- Harrison, Carter Henry, Jr. 30th Mayor
- Dunne, Edward Fitzsimmons 31st Mayor
- Busse, Fred A. 32nd Mayor
- Thompson, William Hale 33rd Mayor
- Dever, William Emmett 34th Mayor
- Cermak, Anton Joseph 35th Mayor
- Corr, Frank J. 36th Mayor
- Kelly, Edward Joseph 37th Mayor
- Kennelly, Martin H. 38th Mayor
- Daley, Richard Joseph 39th Mayor
- Bilandic, Michael Anthony 40th Mayor
- Byrne, Jane Margaret 41st Mayor
- Washington, Harold 42nd Mayor
- Orr, David Duvall 43rd Mayor
- Sawyer, Eugene 44th Mayor
- Daley, Richard Michael 45th Mayor
- Emanuel, Rahm Israel 46th Mayor
- Primary elections went into effect in 1911. Information about primaries is given here only for the party which won the general election. The information was culled from the Municipal Reference Library’s collection of election return data.
- Election dates, birth dates and death dates for mayors elected prior to 1959 came from The Mayors of Chicago… A Chronological List by Florence E. Johnson. Dates concerning mayors elected to office thereafter were gathered from election return data and newspaper clippings on file at the Municipal Reference Library.
- Inauguration dates are not available until 1869. Inauguration dates and times were gathered from the Journal of the Proceedings of the City Council of the City of Chicago. In a few cases no formal inauguration was held and dates given reflect the mayor’s first council meeting and the installation of new aldermen.
- An act passed by the Illinois Legislature on February 16, 1861 amended Chicago’s charter and changed time for municipal elections from March to April.
- On March 10, 1869, the city was divided into 20 wards, and the time of the city election was changed from April to November. Therefore, terms of elected officials were extended from the original expiration of May 1869 until the first Monday in December 1869. Rice continued to serve until December.
- The non-partisan ticket, “Union-Fireproof,” headed by Republican Mayor Joseph Medill, was named by the central committees of the two main parties after agreement on division of offices.
- In August 1873, due to poor health, Mayor Medill traveled to Europe. In his absence, from August 22, 1873 until Mayor Harvey Doolittle Colvin’s inauguration on December 1, 1873, Alderman Lester L. Bond served as acting mayor.
- On April 23, 1875, Chicago accepted the Cities and Villages Act passed by the Illinois Legislature in 1872 which changed the municipal election from November to April and authorized city officers to hold office until April 1876. The election of Thomas Hoyne was voided by the Circuit Court, and a new election was called for July 12, 1876, because of a dispute about the timing and validity of Hoyne’s election.
- Before 1907, mayors served two-year terms. Beginning in 1907, mayors serve four-year terms. (Aldermen continued to serve two-year terms until 1935.)
- On March 9, 1910, the General Assembly passed “An Act to provide for the holding of primary elections by political parties.” Thus, a primary election for mayor was first held in February 1911. (IL L42a 1910 p. 46 and IL L42s 1911 v. 1 p. 1072.)