Mr. Chicago

Man on Five

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For all his national influence, the focus of Daley’s life and career was Chicago.

My mind was boggled by the knowledge that this man had. He had been the mayor for twenty-one years. He knew every neighborhood like he lived there. I can’t emphasize that enough, because it’s impressed on my mind.

Frank Reilly, associate at Daley’s law firm, interview excerpt, July 20, 2010

Eleanor Daley, Richard J. Daley, William Daley, John Daley and others at Mayor Daley's celebration of 14 years in office as mayor, 1969. Photo: Mart Studios. RJD_04_01_0028_0010_001.

Eleanor Daley, Richard J. Daley, William Daley, John Daley and others at Mayor Daley’s celebration of 14 years in office as mayor, 1969. Photo: Mart Studios. RJD_04_01_0028_0010_001.

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I was thirty-one when I was elected as the lieutenant governor. Before I went down to take the oath, I went to him and said, “Mr. Mayor, you’ve seen the whole thing. In a lot of ways, I’m just getting started. So if it’s not presumptuous, I’d like to ask you if you have any advice you could give me on how to handle things.” He said, “Neil, don’t forget where you came from.” And that was it. He was talking about values. He wasn’t talking about Rogers Park, or Bridgeport. He was talking about values.

Neil Hartigan, Illinois Lieutenant Governor 1973-1977, interview excerpt, February 19, 2009

Richard J. Daley and Eleanor Daley standing in front of their bungalow at 3536 S. Lowe. RJD_04_01_0029_0011_003

Richard J. Daley and Eleanor Daley standing in front of their bungalow at 3536 S. Lowe. RJD_04_01_0029_0011_003

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Former President Harry S. Truman, John H. Sengstacke of the Chicago Defender, and Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley riding in an open car during the Bud Billiken Parade, 1956. RJD_04_01_0044_0007_003

Former President Harry S. Truman, John H. Sengstacke of the Chicago Defender, and Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley riding in an open car during the Bud Billiken Parade, 1956. RJD_04_01_0044_0007_003

 

He said there were two jobs in the United States. Those were the President of the United States and the Mayor of Chicago.

Patricia Daley-Martino, daughter of Richard J. Daley, interview excerpt, June 12, 2002

 

 

 

President John F. Kennedy and Richard J. Daley walk outside on the street in Chicago, undated. RJD_04_01_0046_0012_019

President John F. Kennedy and Richard J. Daley walk outside on the street in Chicago, undated. RJD_04_01_0046_0012_019

 

Quite frequently, Kennedy would call and talk to him. Then he’d have him go there. He offered Dick a position in Washington, right away. But Dick said no, he’d rather stay in Chicago.

Eleanor Daley, wife of Richard J. Daley, interview excerpt, February 5, 2003

 

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If you didn’t come from Chicago, he didn’t want any part of you. He was completely Chicago….You couldn’t complain. Like you’d say, “What a lousy day.” “What’s the matter with it? It’s a wonderful day.” Everything was wonderful in Chicago. I mean, you couldn’t complain about anything, even the weather.

Father Gilbert Graham, Daley family friend, interview excerpt, November 17, 2003

Eleanor Daley, Mayor Richard J. Daley, and State Senator Richard M. Daley walk through a park

Eleanor Daley, Mayor Richard J. Daley, and State Senator Richard M. Daley walk through a park. Photo: László Kondor. MSLASZ13_0002_0003_010