Marvin Mandel

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Marvin Mandel
Chairperson of the National Governors Association
In office
June 7, 1972 – June 6, 1973
Preceded by Arch Moore
Succeeded by Daniel Evans
56th Governor of Maryland
In office
January 7, 1969 – January 17, 1979
Lieutenant Blair Lee
Preceded by Spiro Agnew
Succeeded by Harry Hughes
Personal details
Born (1920-04-19) April 19, 1920 (age 94)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Barbara Oberfeld (1941–1974)
Jeanne Dorsey (1974–2001)
Alma mater University of Maryland, College Park
University of Maryland, Baltimore
Religion Judaism

Marvin Mandel (born April 19, 1920), a member of the Democratic Party, was the 56th Governor of Maryland in the United States from January 7, 1969, to January 17, 1979.[1] He was Maryland's first, and, to date, only Jewish governor.

Early life[edit]

Mandel was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and attended the Baltimore City Public Schools, including Baltimore City College. Mandel received a bachelors degree from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1939[2] before receiving his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Political career[edit]

Mandel was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1952, representing Baltimore City (District 5). Mandel was chosen as speaker of the house in 1963 and served in that position until 1969, at which point he was elected Governor by the Maryland General Assembly following the resignation of Spiro Agnew. (Agnew had resigned as governor to serve as Vice President of the United States under then-President Richard Nixon.) Mandel was elected in 1970 and again in 1974.


Mandel's administration was notable for many reasons. While governor, the executive branch of the Maryland government was reorganized into twelve departments. The mass-transit system of Maryland was fostered under him, enacting plans for the establishment of subways for Baltimore City and the Washington, DC suburbs. Additionally, a large public school construction initiative was undertaken while he was governor.

The negative highlight of Mandel's governorship was his conviction for mail fraud and racketeering.[3] As a result, on June 4, 1977, Governor Mandel notified Lieutenant Governor Blair Lee III that Lee would serve as acting governor until further notice. (Lee continued to serve as acting governor until January 15, 1979, when Mandel rescinded his letter appointing Lee as Acting Governor two days before the expiration of his second full elective term.) Mandel served nineteen months in the low-security federal prison camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, before having his sentence commuted by President Ronald Reagan. Based on the reasoning of an opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, a U.S. District Judge, with the persistent advocacy of his trial counsel, Arnold M. Weiner, overturned Mandel's conviction in 1987. A year later, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed.[4]

In 1980, Mandel's State aide Maurice R. Wyatt, City District Court Judge Allen B. Spector, and State Health Department director Donald H. Noren were tried and convicted by judge James MacGill on bribery charges related to land development and septic moratoriums.[5]

In a modern version of damnatio memoriae, Mandel’s official portrait was not hung in the Maryland State House Governor’s Reception Room until 1993.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Mandel married the former Barbara Oberfeld on June 8, 1941, and had two children, Gary and Ellen. In 1974, while governor, Mandel divorced Barbara and married the former Jeanne Blackistone Dorsey, who later died October 6, 2001.

Mandel lived briefly in Arnold, Maryland, and currently lives and practices law in Annapolis.

Present service[edit]

Mandel has been the chairman of the Governor's Commission on the Structure and Efficiency of State Government since 2003. He was also a member of the Board of Regents for the University System of Maryland from 2003 through 2009.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Maryland Governor Marvin Mandel". National Governors Association. Retrieved August 10, 2008. 
  2. ^ University of Maryland A to Z: MAC to Millennium: Alumni of Note
  3. ^ Paul C. Leibe (2007-09-28). "30 years ago, turmoil surrounded Gov. Mandel". Southern Maryland Newspapers. 
  4. ^ Leibe, Paul (September 29, 2007). "30 years ago, turmoil surrounded Gov. Mandel". 
  5. ^ "3 Given Probation, Fines for Bribery". The Washinton Post. 22 July 1980. 
  6. ^ Timberg, Robert (October 14, 1993). "Mandel portrait hung in State House". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved June 20, 2009. 
  7. ^

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Gordon Boone
Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates
Succeeded by
Thomas Lowe
Preceded by
Spiro Agnew
Governor of Maryland
Succeeded by
Harry Hughes
Preceded by
Arch Moore
Chairperson of the National Governors Association
Succeeded by
Daniel Evans
Party political offices
Preceded by
George Mahoney
Democratic nominee for Governor of Maryland
1969, 1970, 1974
Succeeded by
Harry Hughes