John P. O'Brien

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John P. O'Brien
John P. O'Brien (1932).gif
O'Brien in 1932.
98th Mayor of New York City
In office
January 1, 1933 – December 31, 1933
Preceded byJoseph V. McKee
Succeeded byFiorello H. La Guardia
Personal details
John Patrick O'Brien

February 1, 1873
DiedSeptember 21, 1951 (aged 78)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Helen E.C. Madigan

John Patrick O'Brien (February 1, 1873 – September 21, 1951) was an Irish-American politician who served as the 98th Mayor of New York City from January 1 to December 31, 1933.[1][2]

Life and career[edit]

O'Brien was born on February 1, 1873 to Mary and Patrick O'Brien,[1] Irish immigrants in Massachusetts. He received his B.A. from College of the Holy Cross and his masters and law degree from Georgetown University. He later served as City Corporation Counsel and as a New York Surrogate Court judge.

The grave of Mayor John P. O'Brien in Gate of Heaven Cemetery

Shortly after the surprise resignation of Mayor Jimmy Walker in 1932, Tammany Hall nominated O'Brien for mayor in a special election, and he beat write-in candidate (and Acting Mayor) Joseph V. McKee by more than half a million votes. O'Brien's inauguration was held in the Hall of Records, at 31 Chambers Street in Manhattan, and was devoid of the pageantry that had greeted many of his predecessors. His inauguration speech did not outline a vision for the city, but rather, reflected on the work of the court and the legal profession in general. In the post inauguration news conference, the new mayor was asked who would be the new police commissioner. "I don't know" O'Brien answered. "They haven't told me yet."

Although he is credited with expanding the city's ability to collect taxes, restoring order to the city's finances, and trimming the budget, O'Brien was defeated for re-election in a three-way race by the colorful Republican-City Fusion Party candidate, Fiorello H. La Guardia, in November 1933. He served just one year in office.

O'Brien returned to his legal work and served three times as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. He died on September 21, 1951 at his home at 40 East 75th Street at 7:25 p.m. He was buried in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Westchester County.[3]


O'Brien married Helen E. C. Madigan (c1875-1950) in 1908 and their children include: Gerard J. O'Brien, James A. O'Brien, Lawrence J. O'Brien, John G. O'Brien, and a daughter who married Victor E. Forker.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Ex-Mayor O'Brien Dies At Home At 78; Former Corporation Counsel, Surrogate Was Elected To Fill Out Walker's Final Year Ex-Mayor O'Brien Dies In Home At 78 Was Surrogate For 10 Years". New York Times. September 27, 1951. Former Mayor John P. O'Brien died at his home, 40 East Seventyfifth Street at 7:25 o'clock last night. He was 78 years old. His five children were at the deathbed.
  2. ^ John Patrick O'Brien comes from the World War I draft registration
  3. ^ "2,000 at Funeral of John P. O'Brien. Cardinal Spellman Officiates in St. Patrick's at Ex-Mayor's Rites Notables Bearers". New York Times. September 27, 1951. More than 2,000 persons, including 200 leaders in public life and thirty monsignori and priests, attended a Pontifical Requiem Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral at 11 o'clock yesterday morning for John P. O'Brien, former Mayor of New York. Cardinal Spellman celebrated the mass.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Joseph V. McKee
Mayor of New York City
Succeeded by
Fiorello H. La Guardia