List of mayors of Philadelphia

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Mayor of Philadelphia
Seal of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.svg
Seal of City of Philadelphia
Michael Nutter.jpg
Michael Nutter

since January 7, 2008
Term length 4 years
Inaugural holder Humphrey Morrey
Formation 1691
Salary $198, 658
Website Office of the Mayor

The Mayor of Philadelphia is the chief executive of the government of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as stipulated by the Charter of the City of Philadelphia. The current Mayor of Philadelphia is Michael Nutter.


The first mayor of Philadelphia, Humphrey Morrey, was appointed by city founder William Penn. Edward Shippen was appointed by Penn as first mayor under the charter of 1701, then was elected to a second term by the City Council. Subsequent mayors, who held office for one year, were elected by the city council from among their number.

No compensation was paid to the earliest office-holders, and candidates often objected strongly to their being selected, sometimes choosing even to pay a fine rather than serve. In 1704 Alderman Griffith Jones was elected but declined to serve, for which he was fined twenty pounds. In 1706, Alderman Thomas Story was similarly fined for refusing office. In 1745, Alderman Abraham Taylor was fined thirty pounds for refusing the mayoralty; Council then elected Joseph Turner, who also refused and was likewise fined.[1] Others who refused election included Richard Hill (1717), Isaac Norris (1722), John Mifflin and Alexander Stedman, while William Coxe pleaded illness (1758), Samuel Mifflin (1761), William Coxe and Daniel Benezet (1762), and John Barclay and George Roberts (1792). Robert Wharton declined in 1800 and 1811, amid serving for 14 one-year terms, making him the most-often-elected (16 times, including refusals) and longest-serving (14 years) mayor of Philadelphia.[2]

In 1747, at the request of retiring Mayor William Attwood, Council resolved to institute an annual salary of 100 pounds for the office.[1] Nevertheless, that same year, Anthony Morris secretly fled to Bucks County to avoid being notified of his election to the mayoralty. When after three days he could not be located, a new election had to be arranged, and Attwood was re-elected to a second term.

Beginning in 1826, Council could elect any citizen of Philadelphia to the mayoralty. From 1839, mayors were elected by popular vote. If no candidate won a majority of the popular vote, then the joint Councils (Select and Common) would decide between the two leading candidates. John Swift was the first mayor to be elected directly by the people in the 1840 election.

The length of the term of office was extended to two years in 1854, to three years in 1861, and to four years in 1885. A two-consecutive-term limit was instituted in 1951.

List of mayors of Philadelphia[edit]

Mayor Term Political party
Humphrey Morrey 1691–1701 (appointed by William Penn)
Edward Shippen 1701–1703 (appointed by Penn to a one-year term, elected by Council to another)
Anthony Morris 1703–1704
Griffith Jones 1704–1705
Joseph Willcox 1705–1706
Nathan Stanbury 1706–1707
Thomas Masters 1707–1709 (two one-year terms)
Richard Hill 1709–1710
William Carter 1710–1711
Samuel Preston 1711–1712
Jonathan Dickinson 1712–1713
George Roch 1713–1714
Richard Hill 1714–1717 (2nd, three one-year terms)
Jonathan Dickinson 1717–1719 (2nd, two one-year terms)
William Fishbourn 1719–1722 (three one-year terms)
James Logan 1722–1723
Clement Plumsted 1723–1724
Isaac Norris 1724–1725
William Hudson 1725–1726
Charles Read 1726–1727
Thomas Lawrence (I) 1727–1729 (two one-year terms)
Thomas Griffitts 1729–1731 (two one-year terms)
Samuel Hasell 1731–1733 (two one-year terms)
Thomas Griffitts 1733–1734 (2nd)
Thomas Lawrence (I) 1734–1735 (2nd)
William Allen 1735–1736
Clement Plumsted 1736–1737 (2nd)
Thomas Griffitts 1737–1738 (3rd)
Anthony Morris 1738–1739
Edward Roberts 1739–1740
Samuel Hasell 1740–1741 (2nd)
Clement Plumsted 1741–1742 (3rd)
William Till 1742–1743
Benjamin Shoemaker 1743–1744
Edward Shippen (II) 1744–1745
James Hamilton 1745–1746
William Attwood 1746–1748 (two one-year terms)
Charles Willing 1748–1749
Thomas Lawrence (I) 1749–1750 (3rd)
William Plumsted 1750–1751
Robert Strettell 1751–1752
Benjamin Shoemaker 1752–1753 (2nd)
Thomas Lawrence (I) 1753–1754 (4th)
Charles Willing 1754 (2nd, Replaced Thomas Lawrence (I), deceased)
William Plumsted 1754–1756 (Replaced Charles Willing, deceased) (2nd, two one-year terms)
Attwood Shute 1756–1758 (two one-year terms)
Thomas Lawrence (II) 1758–1759
John Stamper 1759–1760
Benjamin Shoemaker 1760–1761 (3rd)
Jacob Duché, Sr. 1761–1762
Henry Harrison 1762–1763
Thomas Willing 1763–1764
Thomas Lawrence (II) 1764–1765 (2nd)
John Lawrence 1765–1767 (two one-year terms)
Isaac Jones 1767–1769 (two one-year terms)
Samuel Shoemaker 1769–1771 (two one-year terms)
John Gibson 1771–1773 (two one-year terms)
William Fisher 1773–1774
Samuel Rhoads 1774–1775
Samuel Powel 1775–1776
(vacant) 1776–1789
Samuel Powel 1789–1790 (2nd)
Samuel Miles 1790–1791
John Barclay 1791–1792
Matthew Clarkson 1792–1796 (four one-year terms)
Hilary Baker 1796–1798 (two one-year terms)
Robert Wharton 1798–1800 (two one-year terms)
John Inskeep 1800–1801
Matthew Lawler 1801–1805 (four one-year terms)
John Inskeep 1805–1806 (2nd)
Robert Wharton 1806–1808 (2nd, two one-year terms)
John Barker 1808-1810 (two one-year terms)
Robert Wharton 1810–1811 (3rd)
Michael Keppele 1811–1812
John Barker 1812–1813 (2nd)
John Geyer 1813–1814
Robert Wharton 1814–1819 (4th, five one-year terms)
James Nelson Barker 1819–1820
Robert Wharton 1820–1824 (5th, four one-year terms)
Joseph Watson 1824–1828 (four one-year terms)
George Mifflin Dallas 1828–1829
Benjamin Wood Richards 1829
William Milnor 1829–1830
Benjamin Wood Richards 1830–1831 (2nd)
John Swift 1832–1838
Isaac Roach 1838–1839
John Swift 1839–1841 (2nd, two one-year terms)
John Morin Scott 1841–1844 Whig
Peter McCall 1844–1845
John Swift 1845–1849 Whig (3rd, 1st popularly elected)
Joel Jones 1849–1850
Charles Gilpin 1850–1854 Whig
Robert Thomas Conrad 1854–1856 Whig, two-year terms instituted
Richard Vaux 1856–1858 Democratic
Alexander Henry 1858–1866 People's Party, National Union Party, (Aligned with Republican Party)[3]
Morton McMichael 1866–1869 Republican
Daniel Fox 1869–1872 Democratic
William Strumberg Stokley 1872–1881 Republican
Samuel George King 1881–1884
William Burns Smith 1884–1887 Republican
Edwin Henry Fitler 1887–1891 Republican (four-year terms instituted)
Edwin Sydney Stuart 1891–1895 Republican
Charles Franklin Warwick 1895–1899 Republican
Samuel Howell Ashbridge 1899–1903 Republican
John Weaver 1903–1907 Republican
John E. Reyburn 1907–1911 Republican
Rudolph Blankenburg 1911–1916 Republican (independent) elected on Keystone-Democratic ticket[4]
Thomas B. Smith 1916–1920 Republican
J. Hampton Moore 1920–1924 Republican
W. Freeland Kendrick 1924–1928 Republican
Harry Arista Mackey 1928–1931 Republican
J. Hampton Moore 1932–1936 Republican (2nd)
Samuel Davis Wilson 1936–1939 Republican (died in office)
George Connell 1939–1940 Acting mayor for the balance of Wilson's term after Wilson's death.
Robert Eneas Lamberton January 1, 1940 – August 22, 1941 Republican (died in office)
Bernard Samuel August 22, 1941 – January 7, 1952 Republican
Joseph S. Clark Jr. January 7, 1952 – January 2, 1956 Democratic
Richardson Dilworth January 2, 1956 – February 12, 1962 Democratic (elected to two four-year terms; resigned)
James Hugh Joseph Tate February 12, 1962 – January 3, 1972 Democratic (succeeded Dilworth; then elected to two four-year terms)
Frank L. Rizzo January 3, 1972 – January 7, 1980 Democratic (two four-year terms)
William J. Green III January 7, 1980 – January 2, 1984 Democratic
W. Wilson Goode January 2, 1984 – January 6, 1992 Democratic (two four-year terms)
Edward G. Rendell January 6, 1992 – January 3, 2000 Democratic (two four-year terms)
John F. Street January 3, 2000 – January 7, 2008 Democratic (two four-year terms)
Michael Nutter January 7, 2008 – present Democratic (incumbent)


  1. ^ a b John Thomas Scharf, Thompson Westcott, History of Philadelphia, 1609–1884, Lippincott, Phila., 1884.
  2. ^ Committee of Seventy's Historical List of Philadelphia Mayors
  3. ^ Weigley RF et al. (eds): (1982). Philadelphia: A 300-Year History. New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 389, 405. ISBN 0-393-01610-2. 
  4. ^ A "fusion between the Democratic party and the Keystone party, which had been organized [in 1909] to combat alleged political corruption in State and city..." [Story of Philadelphia. Joyce, J. St. George, ed. Harry B. Joseph:1919; p. 300.]

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