Mayor John P. Mitchel records
Collection REC0006 - RG 001. Office of the Mayor of the City of New York
Collection REC0006 - RG 001/RG 001.JVM. Office of the Mayor, Joseph V. McKee
127 cubic feet (250 boxes and 20 volumes)
1869-1917, bulk 1914-1917
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John Purroy Mitchel was born in the Fordham area of the Bronx in 1879. The Mitchel family was one of devout Irish Catholic New Yorkers. His father, James, was a veteran of the Confederate Army and a New York City fire marshal. His mother, Mary Purroy, was from a family of leading politicians in the Bronx, and her Venezuelan-born father, Juan Bautista Purroy, served as that country’s consul to the United States.
Raised in a devout Irish Catholic family, Mitchel was educated at Fordham Preparatory School, Columbia College, and New York Law School. Early in his career, he worked as a private attorney, entering city politics in 1906 when he worked for New York City Corporation Counsel investigating Manhattan Borough President John Ahearn's office for corruption. He worked as assistant corporation counsel and then investigated the finances of city departments with the Commissioner of Accounts. In 1909, Mitchel was elected President of the Board of Alderman, and as such, served as Acting Mayor for a brief period in 1910 after the attempted assassination of Mayor William J. Gaynor.
Known as being a reformer and anti-Tammany Hall, Mitchel won his campaign for Mayor by a surprisingly large margin, and entered office in 1914. The 34-year-old was the youngest Mayor of the City of New York, earning him the nickname “Boy Mayor.” While in office, Mitchel continued his quest to reform the city, focusing especially on the Police Department and education. He also unsuccessfully attempted to bring the rapid transit system under municipal control.
Mitchel ran for reelection in 1917, but this time his campaign had no chance against a rebounding Tammany Hall. After this loss, he joined the military, specifically the Air Service, and died tragically in a plane crash during training, in 1918.
- Guide to the records of Mayor John P. Mitchel, 1914-1917
- Rachel Greer and Alexandra Hilton
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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- 2017: Updated by staff archivist Alexandra Hilton
- 2018: Updated by staff archivist Alexandra Hilton