Edwin Henry Fitler

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Edwin Henry Fitler
Edwin H. Fitler (Philadelphia Mayor).jpg
75th Mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
In office
April 4, 1887 – April 6, 1891
Preceded byWilliam B. Smith
Succeeded byEdwin S. Stuart
Personal details
Born(1825-12-02)December 2, 1825
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DiedMay 31, 1896(1896-05-31) (aged 70)
Torresdale, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Resting placeLaurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Josephine R. Baker (m. 1850)
RelationsHappy Rockefeller (granddaughter)
OccupationCordage company president

Edwin Henry Fitler (December 2, 1825 – May 31, 1896) was a Pennsylvania businessman and politician. A Republican, he served as Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania in 1876 and Mayor of Philadelphia from 1887 to 1891.

Early life[edit]

Fitler was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 2, 1825, the son of the son of Elizabeth Wonderly Fitler and William Fitler, who ran a successful leather tanning and manufacturing business.

The younger Fitler received an academic education in Philadelphia, and studied law with attorney Charles E. Lex, but decided on a business career and obtained a position in his brother-in-law's cordage manufacturing business, George J. Weaver & Company.

Early career[edit]

Fitler became a partner in Weaver's business two years later, and it was renamed Weaver, Fitler & Company. Displaying an aptitude for mechanics, Fitler developed several inventions to improve and speed up rope making, which made the business more profitable by saving both time and money.

Over time Fitler bought out the other partners in Weaver, Fitler & Company, and by 1870 the business was again renamed, this time to Edwin H. Fitler & Company. His success continued, and his company eventually became one of the largest cordage manufacturers in the United States. Recognized as a leader in his industry, Fitler served as president of the American Cordage Manufacturers Association. Fitler was also active in other businesses, including member of the board of directors of the National Bank of the Northern Liberties.

Fitler also served as president of the board of trustees of the Thomas Jefferson Medical College, a member of the board of managers of the Edwin Forrest Home, and a member of the board of directors of the North Pennsylvania Railroad.

Civic activism[edit]

During the American Civil War, Fitler supported the Union. He was a director, vice president, and president of the Union League of Philadelphia, and his efforts included personally paying to recruit and equip a company from among the employees of his business.

Fitler was a leader in planning and organizing the 1876 Centennial Exposition. He was also one of the founders of the Philadelphia Art Club and a member of The Philadelphia Club[1]

Political career[edit]

Fitler was a Republican and served as one of Pennsylvania's presidential electors in 1876.

In 1887 Fitler was elected Mayor of Philadelphia, and he served one term, 1887 to 1891.

Though he was not an active candidate, in 1888 Fitler was nominated for President and received the votes of the Philadelphia delegation on the first ballot at that year's Republican national convention.

Death and burial[edit]

Fitler died on May 31, 1896 at his estate in the Torresdale section of Philadelphia. He was buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery.


Fitler Square, an elementary school in Philadelphia and Fitler Street, in Philadelphia's Torresdale neighborhood, are named in his honor.


In 1850 Fitler married Josephine R. Baker.

He was the grandfather of Happy Rockefeller, second wife of Vice President Nelson Rockefeller.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kenneth W. Milano, Remembering Kensington & Fishtown: Philadelphia's Riverward Neighborhoods, "Edwin Henry Fitler, Kensington-Born Mayor of Philadelphia", The History Press, 2008.


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
William Burns Smith
Mayor of Philadelphia
Succeeded by
Edwin Sydney Stuart