At the Office

Man on Five

1 of 8

The mayor was never one who drank coffee at his desk. He never ate at his desk. City Hall was for business. He had a schedule where he ran appointments fifteen minutes to half an hour. He had a very heavy schedule every day. He was such a brilliant man. He almost never wrote anything down. He remembered what people wanted.

Thomas Donovan, Administrative Assistant to Richard J. Daley, interview excerpt, April 2, 2009

 

Richard J. Daley sitting behind his desk talking on a telephone, undated.

Richard J. Daley sitting behind his desk talking on a telephone, undated. RJD_04_01_0041_0003_017

2 of 8

Tailor Carmen Duro fitting Mayor Richard J. Daley for a suit. Photo: Mart Studios. RJD_04_01_0015_0012_015

Tailor Carmen Duro fitting Mayor Richard J. Daley for a suit. Photo: Mart Studios. RJD_04_01_0015_0012_015

My guess is that if my grandfather were alive today, he would not be a fan of casual Fridays.

Courtney Thompson, granddaughter of Richard J. Daley, interview excerpt, August 5, 2002

Award presented to Richard J. Daley: "Top Ten Best Dressed Men in America, the Custom Tailors and Designers Guild of America," 1964. RJD_06_03_0021_0002_001

Award presented to Richard J. Daley: “Top Ten Best Dressed Men in America, the Custom Tailors and Designers Guild of America,” 1964. RJD_06_03_0021_0002_001

 

His discipline was beyond belief. He was just spot on everything. He was just always—we used to say if the mayor’s house burned down he’d come out in a suit.

Vince Gavin, Security Chief for Richard J. Daley, interview except, July 19, 2014

 

3 of 8

I think that all good political leaders understand that there’s a bit of theater to life. And he understood that.

William Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, interview excerpt, December 5, 2008

Mayor Richard J. Daley questioned by reporters at his desk in City Hall, ca. 1972-1976.

Mayor Richard J. Daley questioned by reporters at his desk in City Hall, ca. 1972-1976. Photo: László Kondor. RJD_04_01_0029_0014_004

 

4 of 8

During his time as mayor and in his public life, he held more press conferences than any other mayor. He was accessible every day. I mean, it was unbelievable. People said how he would be hiding out and things like that. He was more accessible to the press.

Michael Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, interview excerpt, July 26, 2006

Richard J. Daley standing at a podium with microphones, ca. 1970s. Photo: Victor Geronda, C.P.D., Graphic Arts. RJD_04_01_0016_0002_021

Richard J. Daley standing at a podium with microphones, ca. 1970s. Photo: Victor Geronda, C.P.D., Graphic Arts. RJD_04_01_0016_0002_021

 

I’d go to press conferences just to see him handling them. I mean, if he didn’t want to answer a question, the press couldn’t make him answer it, and he would talk around that question so they were so confused they wouldn’t know where it started. He was always in control.

James Riley, Assistant to Richard J. Daley’s Campaigns for Mayor, interview excerpt, October 30, 2014

 

5 of 8

Mayor Daley cultivated a strong relationship with local newspapers from Chicago’s neighborhoods. Click on image to play audio.

Audio: László Kondor, Daley’s official photographer 1972-1976, interview excerpt, November 6, 2013

6 of 8

There was no typical day for the mayor.

There was always a riot. There was always something going on. And so you never, ever knew what. You’d think, oh, it’s going to be a peaceful day today, I’m going to do this, that and the other thing. You couldn’t do it because it was something different.

Kay Quinlan, Richard J. Daley’s Personal Secretary, interview excerpt, August 7, 2014

Mayor Daley and United States Senator Charles Percy stand in large gathering with security. RJD_04_01_0017_0001_004

Mayor Daley and United States Senator Charles Percy stand in large gathering with security. RJD_04_01_0017_0001_004

7 of 8

When they see the mayor in person, when he gets up before an audience. Talk about Knute Rockne. He’s the Knute Rockne of politics.

Ed Kelly, Chicago Park District Superintendent 1973-1986, interview excerpt, December 11, 2003

Richard J. Daley speaking at a podium during an All Chicago Italian American Democratic Committee event, 1967. Photo: Copelin. RJD_04_01_0026_0001_001

Richard J. Daley speaking at a podium during an All Chicago Italian American Democratic Committee event, 1967. Photo: Copelin. RJD_04_01_0026_0001_001

 

He could charm anybody. He could strike the fear of God into anybody. If he was in a large room and he entered, it was a presence that he had there that just buzzed with excitement.

Robert Christensen, Executive Director, Chicago Public Building Commission, interview excerpt, September 8, 2003

He was very bright, had a high I.Q., and had a photographic memory. In fact, he never forgot anything. He could meet someone and would spend two minutes talking to them. If he saw that person again, there was a fifty-fifty chance he’d know their name.

Richard Pavia, Chicago Water Commissioner (1973-1979), interview excerpt, June 20, 2002