SPOTLIGHT ON: NEW YORK CITY MAYORS
November 2005, New York City voters elected the next Mayor. To mark the
occasion, this article will present a sample of resources on some of
the lesser-known Mayors of this city.
Fernando Wood was Mayor from 1855 to 1858 and again from 1860 to 1862,
Fernando Wood of New York by Samuel A. Pleasants recounts the
story of Wood’s beginnings as a Tammany Hall politician, originally
serving in the United States Congress. As Mayor, he attempted to reorganize
Police Department and came into conflict with the state legislature in
Albany over this and other issues. Re-elected in 1860 and notorious as
a supporter of slavery in the early days of the Civil War, Wood finished
his career with a return to Congress.
Oakey Hall served as Mayor from 1869 to 1872. The Elegant Oakey by Croswell
Bowen describes Hall’s career in politics and his association with
Boss Tweed. After serving as New York County District Attorney, Hall
was elected Mayor and became known for his excellent fashion sense. Accused
of being a member of the infamous Tweed Ring, Hall stood trial three
times for neglect of duty as Mayor and was eventually acquitted.
Seth Low: The Reformer in an Urban and Industrial Age by Gerald
Kurland profiles the man who was Mayor from 1902 to 1903. Mayor of Brooklyn
it was a separate city; Low became known as a reformer, overhauling the
tax structure, school system and awarding of franchises there. After
serving as President of Columbia University, Low took office as Mayor
of New York in 1902. He continued his work as a reformer, reorganizing
the Police Department, improving services to city residents and supporting
the working class. After his mayoral term ended, Low worked as a labor
mediator and served as president of the New York State Chamber of Commerce
among other accomplishments.
The Gentleman and the Tiger: the Autobiography of George B. McClellan,
Jr. edited by Harold C. Syrett is the story of the Mayor of New York
City from 1904 to 1909. Son of a famous Civil War general, McClellan
writes about the influence of his father on his life, his work as a newspaper
reporter and his appointment to the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn
Bridge in 1889. This job started McClellan’s political career.
Serving two terms as Mayor, he eventually feuded with the Tammany Hall
political boss who assisted in his rise to political power. McClellan
was interested in the design of public buildings and strongly supported
the Municipal Arts Commission. In 1911, McClellan became a professor
at Princeton University and after retirement in 1931, relocated to Washington,
D.C., remaining there until his death.
William J. Gaynor, Mayor from 1910 to 1913, is profiled in William
Jay Gaynor: Mayor of New York by Mortimer Smith. Prior to election, Gaynor
served as a New York State Supreme Court judge. Gaynor became famous
for his irascible personality and extensive knowledge of philosophy and
religion. He successfully appointed city officials on the basis of their
ability rather than Tammany Hall connections and enacted governmental
reforms. In 1910, Gaynor was shot in the throat by a would-be assassin.
He never quite recovered and died while on an ocean voyage to England.
John Purroy Mitchel: the Boy Mayor of New York by Edwin R. Lewinson
recounts the life of the man who was Mayor from 1913 to 1917. At thirty-four,
Mitchel was the youngest person ever to be elected Mayor; thus the moniker
of “Boy Mayor.” Mitchel reformed the municipal government
system, including the coroner’s office, the Police Department,
Comptroller’s office among others. He also tried to help the unemployed
and the labor unions. Unhappily, Mitchel’s programs and ideas were
not completely successful and he alienated many voters. After defeat
in the 1917 election, Mitchel enlisted in the Air Corps to train as a
pilot and serve in World War I. He died in an airplane accident.
Biographical and vertical files include articles and other clippings
on various Mayors. Find out about the famous and infamous, well-known
and obscure holders of the highest office in New York City by exploring
these diverse and rich resources.
ACQUISITIONS LIST, OCTOBER 2005
The following publications were received by the City Hall Library
in the month of October. Additional government publications
can be found online in our Government
Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation and Subsidiary.
Report on the consolidated financial statements for the years ended June
30, 2005 and 2004. September 28, 2005.
Citizens Budget Commission.
New York’s endangered future: debt beyond our means. September
Community-Based Planning Task Force.
Livable neighborhoods for a livable city: policy recommendations to strengthen
community-based planning in New York City. Prepared by the Municipal
Art Society Planning Center on behalf of the Task Force. 2005.
Freelancers Union/Working Today.
The rise of the freelance class: a new constituency of workers building
a social safety net, 2005 report.
Historical Perspectives, Inc.
Phase 1B archaeological field testing of BMP-SG-1 Pond Street, Staten
Island, NY: South Shore Golf Course drainage area. Prepared for Difazio
Industries and N.Y. City Department of Environmental Protection, July
Housing Here and Now.
Your tax dollars at work: how NYC subsidizes slumlords. October 2005.
Institute for Urban Family Health/Bronx Health REACH.
Separate and unequal: medical apartheid in New York City. October 2005.
John Milner Associates, Inc.
Phase 1B archaeological investigation: Block 457, Lot 28 (former Methodist
Episcopal Cemetery, New York, N.Y.) Prepared for Avalon Bay Communities,
Inc. and N.Y. City Landmarks Preservation Commission. August 2005.
Loorya, Alyssa and Christopher Ricciardi.
Martin’s Field, Queens, New York: phase 1B cultural resource monitoring
report project number Q017-104M. Prepared for N.Y. City Department of
Parks and Recreation and N.Y. City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
McMahon, E. J.
Legislators still aim to sweeten public pensions. Albany: Empire Center
for New York State Policy. Fiscal Watch Memo revised July 15, 2005.
N.Y. City. Comptroller.
Analysis of the financial and operating practices of union-administered
benefit funds with fiscal years ending in calendar year 2003. September
N.Y. City. Comptroller.
Audit report on the Section 8, Housing Choice Voucher Program of the
Department of Housing Preservation and Development, January 1—December
31, 2002. October 17, 2005.
N.Y. City. Comptroller.
Audit report on the fees due from the USTA National Tennis Center, Inc.
and the Center’s compliance with its lease agreement. October
N.Y. City. Council. Commission on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.
Part II: reengineering reform: adopting a new approach to an old problem.
N.Y. City. Independent Budget Office.
State saves as city bears added jail costs for felony cases. (IBO Fiscal
Brief) September 2005.
N.Y. State. Comptroller.
New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation: inventory controls over
controlled substances. Report 2004-N-4. 
9/11 Public Discourse Project.
Report on the status of 9/11 Commission recommendations. Part I: homeland
security, emergency preparedness and response. September 14, 2005.
9/11 Public Discourse Project.
Report on the status of 9/11 Commission recommendations. Part II: reforming
the institutions of government. October 20, 2005.
Passel, Jeffrey S. and Roberto Suro.
Rise, peak, and decline: trends in U. S. immigration 1992-2004. Washington:
Pew Hispanic Center, September 27, 2005.
Renz, Loren and Josefina Atienza.
Foundation funding for arts education: an overview of recent trends.
New York: Foundation Center in cooperation with Grantmakers in the
Arts. October 2005.
Roder, Anne and Scott Scrivner.
Seeking a sustainable journey to work: findings from the National Bridges
to Work Demonstration. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures, July
Report on archaeological monitoring during fence post excavations on
the east side of Prospect Cemetery along 159th Street, in Jamaica,
Queens, New York. Prepared for Padilla Construction Services, Inc.
and N.Y. City Landmarks Preservation Commission. September 20, 2005.
Trust for America’s Health.
F is for fat: how obesity policies are failing in America. Issue report
2005. Washington: Trust for America’s Health, August 2005.
U. S. Geological Survey.
Hydrogeology and extent of saltwater intrusion in the northern part of
the town of Oyster Bay, Nassau County, New York: 1995-98. Coram, N.Y.:
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