by Colleen Taylor Sen
Edward Joseph Kelly (1876-1950), the 46th Mayor of Chicago, was born in Chicago and in the 1920s served as Chief Engineer of the Sanitary District of Chicago. In 1933, he was appointed Mayor by the City Council following the assassination of Mayor Anton Joseph Cermak (1873-1933). He held this post until 1947 and was the first of five Chicago Mayors from Bridgeport. His sponsor was Patrick Nash (1863-1943), owner of a sewer contracting company who was Chair of the Cook County Democratic Party. Together they built a powerful political organization called the “Kelly Nash Machine.”
Mayor Kelly was a loyal supporter of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) and his “New Deal,” and produced huge majorities for the Democratic Party and the President. Because of his support for integration and open housing, the party leaders considered him a liability and forced his retirement from politics in 1947.