Mayor Edward J. Kelly Biography

Mayor of Chicago, 1933-1947

  • Democratic Party
  • Elected acting mayor by City Council April 13, 1933. Kelly served as 46th mayor of Chicago, completing the unexpired term of Mayor Anton Joseph Cermak.
  • Won primary election February 26, 1935, defeating John P. O’Meara, Martin Powroznik and James Fred Robertson
  • Elected to second term as mayor April 2, 1935 ; defeated Newton Jenkins (Third Party) and Emil C. Wetten (Republican) in general election
  • Won primary election February 28, 1939, defeating Thomas J. Courtney, James Fred Robertson and James J. Ryan
  • Elected to third term as mayor April 4, 1939; defeated Dwight H. Green (Republican) and Arthur P. Reilly (Third Party) in general election
  • Won primary election February 23, 1943, defeating John S. Boyle and Billy Patts
  • Elected to fourth term as mayor April 6, 1943; defeated George B. McKibbin (Republican) in general election
  • Inauguration to first term: April 17, 1933
  • Inauguration to second term: April 8, 1935
  • Inauguration to third term: April 12, 1939
  • Inauguration to fourth term: April 9, 1943


  • Born May 1, 1876 in Chicago
  • Became a newsboy at 9, cash boy in a department store at 11, office boy for a broker at 14, and later undertaker and surveyor
  • Married Mary Roche, who died in 1918; together they had a son who died at age 14.
  • Married Margaret E. Kirk of Kansas City, Mo. in 1922; together they adopted three children.
  • Became south park commissioner in 1922, and eventually president of the board until elected mayor
  • Served as chief engineer of the Sanitary District
  • Took over post of county chairman in 1944
  • Died October 20, 1950 in Chicago
  • Buried in Calvary Cemetery, Chicago


  • "Edward J. Kelly: Life as Mayor, Builder, Power." Chicago Daily Tribune, October 21, 1950, p. 4.
  • "Edward Kelly Rites Tuesday in Cathedral." Chicago Daily Tribune, October 21, 1950, p. 1.
  • Evans, Arthur. "Edward J. Kelly New Mayor." Chicago Daily Tribune, April 14, 1933, p. 1.
  • Grossman, James R., Ann Durkin Keating and Janice L. Reiff, editors. Encyclopedia of Chicago. University of Chicago Press, 2004.
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