|56th Governor of Maryland|
January 7, 1969 – January 17, 1979
|Lieutenant||Blair Lee III|
|Preceded by||Spiro T. Agnew|
|Succeeded by||Harry R. Hughes|
|Chair of the National Governors Association|
June 7, 1972 – June 6, 1973
|Preceded by||Arch A. Moore, Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Daniel J. Evans|
April 19, 1920 |
Baltimore (City), Maryland, U.S.A.
|Political party||Democratic Party|
|Spouse(s)||Barbara (Oberfeld) Mandel (m. 1941–1974; divorce),
Jeanne (Dorsey) Mandel (m. 1974–2001; her death)
|Alma mater||The Baltimore City College
University of Maryland at College Park
University of Maryland School of Law (LL.M.)
Marvin Mandel (born April 19, 1920) was the 56th Governor of Maryland in the United States, serving from January 7, 1969, to January 17, 1979. Before that time, he had been Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates since 1963 and a delegate since 1952. He was a member of the Democratic Party, and was Maryland's first (and to date, only) Governor of the Jewish faith.
Mandel was elected as Governor of Maryland on January 7, 1969 by the joint vote of both houses of the Maryland General Assembly due to the vacancy created by the election of Spiro T. Agnew, the incumbent governor, as Vice President, as there was no proviso for succession of the Governorship by an office of lieutenant governor as in most other states. Such an office was created by amendment in 1970.
Mandel was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and attended the Baltimore City Public Schools, graduating from the The Baltimore City College, which was a city-wide, all-male institution that served as an early model of a college prep, specialized "magnet" school that developed and became popular in American public education forty years later. Mandel received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1939 and a Master of Law degree from the University of Maryland Law School in 1942.
Mandel was first elected to public office in the Maryland House of Delegates in 1952, representing northwestern Baltimore City. Mandel served several terms throughout the tumultuous events and urban politics of the 1950s and early '60s when civil rights was on the state's front burner, and was finally chosen as Speaker of the House of Delegates in January 1963 and served in that position until January 1969. Speaker Mandel was elected and sworn in by the legislative members of both houses in a joint session of the General Assembly in January 1969, prior to Gov. Agnew's being sworn in as Vice President later that week. In his short inaugural speech to the legislators, he famously predicted his method and attitude towards the powers of his office putting aside the indirect and unusual way he came to the executive office and the idea of serving as an "acting governor", from the formerly opposing party, saying, "Make no mistake about it, we intend to govern!". After serving 23 months (almost two years of the unfinished Agnew term), he was duly further elected by the entire Maryland state body of voters in a special gubernatorial election for a full four-year term in November 1970, and again re-elected in a regular state election in November 1974.
Mandel's executive administration was notable for many reasons. While governor, the executive branch of the Maryland state government was reorganized, combining the recent 20th Century growth of commissions, boards, offices, bureaus and agencies into twelve departments headed by supervising secretaries with several administrative levels in each executive department. Each secretary supervised their agency without the previous system of having additional boards or commissions setting policy or interfering with administrative decisions. Each secretary and his assistants and deputies reported directly to the governor and his chief-of-staff, reflecting the current American federal presidency and presidential cabinet system. The mass-transit system of Maryland was established and fostered under Mandel, enacting plans begun back in 1969 for the establishment of two urban subway networks (with the European title of "Metro" tacked on for each system planned) for the Baltimore metropolitan area with its central Baltimore City and its two adjoining suburban counties of Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County. The second planned for the National Capital area of Washington, D.C., the several northern Virginia counties and its Maryland suburbs of several adjacent villages, towns and developments in a continuous urban expanse above, north of the District of Columbia border in the two adjoining counties of Montgomery and Prince George's Counties of central Maryland. Although this was a considerable public works undertaking for the small State of constructing one entire "heavy rail" subway network for its main political, business/commercial/economic, industrial/manufacturing and cultural/entertainment center of Baltimore and one-third of another "Metro" rapid transit system forty miles away for the national capital of the world's superpower and a growing internationally ranked city (and federal district) in Washington. The far foreseeing Mandel administrators expected to work on the projects for several decades at costs of several billions of dollars as once did the old New York City and Chicago visionary railroad/subway leaders did at the beginning of the 1900s for their renowned/famous, world-class and efficient underground "Metro" subway lines soon capable of moving millions throughout their large metropolitan cities, thereby realizing the constant growth of modern auto/truck/buses of vehicle usage and interstate highways/expressways with two city "beltways" would eventually strangle the growing super-region of Baltimore–Washington, with its emerging central Maryland-northern Virginia metropolis without an extensive, well-planned speedy transit system ensuring the regions continued thriving economic growth. Combining the characteristics of the two unique, historically different and often competing cities and the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay as a part of the enveloping East Coast/Northeast "Megalopis" with alleviating that urban growth with an efficient transportation corridor from Boston to Richmond (even branching southeast to the major Hampton Roads harbor at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay with one of the great harbors/seaport and military base in the world, with a third major regional metropolis to combine with the upper Baltimore Washington urban centers with smaller cities that ring the Hampton Roads harbor such as Newport News–Hampton–Poquoson on its "Northern Peninsula" combined with the "Southside" cities of Norfolk–Portsmouth–Chesapeake–Virginia Beach and with the link of high-speed, inter-city, commuter trains with a connection and train station to each city's subway/light rail train network planned/constructed for the future 21st Century. Mandel's inter-city and inter-state vision for "The Old Line State"'s future development reflected the vision foreseen by the builders of the nation's first passenger railroad network in 1827 (the B. & O.)and the major international regional airports – (Friendship/B.W.I.–Washington National/Reagan–Dulles) along with one of the world's major seaports, all familiar and growing due to the vision of a Baltimore-born, as a long-time experienced state political leader in Annapolis from Maryland's 20th Century successfully looking ahead to its next millennium.
Additionally, another major goal of the Mandel administration for Maryland was to alleviate and equalize the century-old problem and inequalities of the various sized counties (and the central independent city of Baltimore) with their different levels of wealth, population, educational achievement levels and geography by establishing a state-wide system of a public school construction program initiative for the central Baltimore City and the other 23 counties of Maryland to be equalized and fully funded by the State was undertaken while Mandel was governor. That at least in this State, the entering students in kindergarten or first grade (despite whatever other developmental, learning or personal problems/situations) would at least begin their public education through to high school in whatever county – village, town or city with equally adequate buildings, supplies and teachers. Baltimore City, which was the first jurisdiction authorized by the General Assembly of Maryland to began its public schools system in 1829 and continued as the City began its history and growth being the most wealthy, powerful and culturally/politically and economically dominant in the State. Following the Civil War and the new reforming/modernizing programs and standards of the Radical Republican/Unionist Party influences over the State especially with the convening of a mid-war Constitutional Convention and ratifying the third Maryland Constitution of 1864, with its provisions for a state-wide public school system along with the abolition of slavery for "The Border State" and citizenship/voting rights for the new "Freedmen" (which however were later restricted by Southern-style "Jim Crow" laws later in the 19th Century), plus a more developed "New England-style government reorganization and efficiencies, which the old Maryland governing elite (in the previously dominant Democratic Party preserving an older rural conservative way of life) had previously ignored like most other Southern states, which had done the same and fallen behind the more progressive and modern Northern states (which were then winning the war), in reducing levels of illiteracy, poverty, hardship and increasing public social services and establishing more state and municipal institutions of care along with strengthening and providing additional grants/subsidies from state coffers for private charitable institutions throughout Maryland. By adapting new policies for an increasingly industrial state and modernizing growing Baltimore, with enabling Maryland began quickly catching up to the standards of "The North" and distant western Europe as the U.S. and its Northeast began increasingly playing a larger role in trade and influence in the industrializing Western World. By 1865, with the first establishment of a Maryland State Department of Education and a supervising Board of Education with a first appointed "Superintendent of Public Instruction" leading other more rural, then growing suburban counties to be directed by the Assembly and new educational authorities to establish small public schoolhouses in the villages, towns and smaller cities of "The Free State" – at first were elementary schools (grammar and primary grades) then high schools (at least one for each county) and finally junior, renamed community colleges culminating into a state-wide establishment of post-Civil War system of state teachers' colleges and the growing multi-campuses of the "flagship" University of Maryland, with its graduate/professional schools founded in Baltimore beginning in 1807 and expanded in 1920 to College Park, followed by the founding of the various regional state colleges beginning in 1866 into the 20th Century. The Mandel vision of equal funding and support of public elementary, middle and high schools in all 24 jurisdictions leading more qualified graduated students into the statewide levels of public colleges and universities and the growing endowment of several high-quality private colleges/universities (such as Hopkins, Goucher, Loyola, Western Maryland and Hood – coupled with the more ancient St. John's of Annapolis, Washington College in Chestertown and Mount Saint Mary's in Emmittsburg) began an educational renaissance in the State that was admired in the nation. Decades later, the State's growing home-state educated elite and financially successful, propelled Maryland into a 1900s-era of an industrial/manufacturing economy past that phase into the 2000s with that of educational leadership in science, technology, bio-medics and digital, internet and computer services of the coming 21st Century.
The additional executive departmental reorganization and structure simplified the state government as had been suggested and outlined in the previously convened Maryland Constitutional Convention of 1967–1968, which had proposed a revised, logical and simplified charter document (fifth state constitution since 1776) to replace the antiquated, complex and frequently amended fourth Maryland Constitution of 1867 reflecting post-Civil War and Reconstruction era emphases and limited governing philosophies from the mid-1800s. Although narrowly rejected by the State voters in a 1968 referendum, (because of several large controversial proposals) many of the proposed charter's other more generally acceptable provisions and reorganizations were later pushed past the legislature by the new incoming Mandel administration and enacted into law and policy by the voters in several special elections/referendums and the edicts of the Mandel and later Hughes and Schaefer administrations, such as the reorganized four-level system of the state court system, continuation of the highest level – the "Maryland Court of Appeals", supplemented by an Intermediate (later renamed "Special") now known as the "Maryland Court of Special Appeals", followed by 24 divisions of the "Circuit Courts of Maryland "for" (or on behalf of) the various counties and Baltimore City. The City was finally included in the logical reorganized system, eliminating its variously named accumulated "municipal", "criminal", "superior", "criminal court #2", etc. including its old traditional ancient name of "The Supreme Bench of Baltimore City", handed down from old state constitutions and city charters. With a reduction in the number of court systems for the City and accumulating clerks and their employee fiefdoms, the old Baltimore City Courthouse of 1896–1900, (site of Marvin Mandel's and friends/associates legal work in the 1940s, '50s and early '60s), by 1971 now contained one unified "Circuit Court of Maryland FOR Baltimore City", with its appointed/elected judges and one circuit court clerk's office for the City (which now handles criminal and civil law disputes) and a single "Circuit" of the Circuit Court "FOR" each county and the city of the reorganized "Circuit Court of Maryland" system and a uniform statewide District Court system with many branch/district courthouses scattered throughout the counties and city for lower minor felonies, misdemeanors and traffic cases – a major administrative, financial and constitutional reform forever admired and accomplishment of Gov. Marvin Mandel.
Other similar administrative organizations and efficiencies were reflected in the various other departments as they were set up and took shape with the various "administrations", authorities" and "offices" arrayed beneath the state secretaries in the governors new cabinet, including newer unprecedented departments such as the environment, general services, public safety and correctional services, and natural resources. Other departments replaced agencies with old familiar names known to generations of Marylanders such as the old "State Roads Commission" and "Department of Motor Vehicles" ("D.M.V."), which became "administrations" under the new super Department of Transportation (with new acronyms for State Highway Administration (S.H.A.) and Motor Vehicle Administration (M.V.A.). Joining them in the new unified Transportation agency, along with the old private bus and streetcar companies joined by the new "Metro" subway train cars and re-invented "light rail" cars and lines into the new "Mass Transit Administration" and several commuter passenger railroad lines from the corners of the State into the cities of Baltimore and Washington were combined into a state-subsidized Maryland Railroad Administration" (known as "M.A.R.C.") to alleviate car traffic on rush-hour highways and routes to business and urban centers. The various newly constructed toll river bridges and tunnels were supervised under a new Toll Facilities Authority with its own patrolling Police force. The old city-built and -operated Friendship International Airport was combined with another Martin State Airport in an Airport Administration and finally even the oldest transport facility in the State, the Port of Baltimore, first designated in 1706 was reorganized under a unified Port Administration from the older municipal and state boards with newer terminals begun and built further downriver by deeper waters and now heavily marketed and promoted internationally overseas with the entire State's greater financial resources.
Negative highlight of Mandel's governorship towards the end of his terms with ten years in office was first the embarrassing domestic situation when the governor, fell in love with another woman and moved out on his own from "Government House" on Church Circle in Annapolis, when his first wife Barbara (Oberfeld) Mandel, (since 1941, and "First Lady" of Maryland since 1969, plus mother of his children) refused to agree to a separation, leave and also move out of the State governor's Mansion. For several months an unusual stand-off continued with Gov. Mandel living in a nearby Annapolis apartment and visiting his new female companion Jeanne Dorsey. Eventually a legal separation was finally agreed to and later both were divorced with Mr. Mandel soon remarrying Mrs. Dorsey and she later herself assumed the role of state "First Lady" and occasionally entertained briefly in "Government House" before the end of the Mandel era, which occurred in even more an unusual way. Related to his later Federal legal conviction in the United States District Court for mail fraud and racketeering, involving certain friends and the transfer of racing days for the former Rosecroft Race Track in Prince George's County, although overturned later by a Federal appeals court on several grounds, which initially besmirched Gov. Mandel's reputation and legacy, even after he had served some time in a minimum-security Federal prison camp. This scandal came on the heels several years after more serious corruption and bribery charges with conviction on a single plea-bargained charge caused the resignation of the former governor, now Vice President Spiro T. Agnew in October 1973, Mandel's predecessor (and first Marylander to serve in the second-highest executive office) for crimes of extortion and "kick-backs" that began even further back into Agnew's term as Baltimore County Executive in the mid-1960s. Unfortunately for the American Republican Party's conservative "law & order" reputation, continued into the following year with his boss, President Nixon's resignation himself in August 1974, on unrelated (to Agnew's troubles and case in Federal court in Baltimore) obstruction of justice charges and others on a bill of impeachment coming from the Judicial Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives to the U.S. Senate requesting a constitutionally mandated trial. This was the sad consequence of over a two-year long revelation of legal charges and possible crimes resulting out of the "Watergate" abuse-of-power scandals. Several dozen members of the Nixon-Agnew administration, including Presidential aides and Cabinet members were charged, tried and many convicted, some serving jail time during 1972 to 1975. As a result of his legal troubles and then conviction on the Federal charges, on June 4, 1977, Governor Mandel notified Lieutenant Governor Blair Lee III, (the first elected to that revived office in 96 years) that Lee would have to serve as "Acting Governor of Maryland" until further notice. (Lee continued to serve as "Acting Governor" until January 15, 1979, when Mandel rescinded his letter appointing Lee as "Acting Chief Executive", just two days before the expiration of his second original full elective term.) on the basis of his overturned previous legal conviction and the neutral legal opinions on the status of his appeal case, that the governor was now eligible to reassume the powers of his office previously delegated to Lee, even at that late date, providing the soon-to-be-former governor, some measure of vindication and brief satisfaction, to walk and retrace his steps through the rooms, offices and corridors of "Government House" and the State House's legislative chambers and upper executive floors, ending a decade-long "soap opera" drama and some comedy to the most sensational legal/political case in the last generation of Maryland's tortured politics and history! During the 1979 state elections, the loss of pleasant, mild, inoffensive patrician Blair Lee III from Montgomery County in his ill-fated primary campaign to elevate his lieutenant governorship to a full term on his own merits fell resoundingly flat in the anti-corruption, anti-incumbent wave that swept the voters in that year's Democratic Party primary election, and as a former, powerful, old South Baltimore's long-time State Senator Harry J. ("Soft Shoes") McGuirk, with his wavy silver-gray pompadour hair style, luxuriant white drooping mustache and well-fitting pin-striped suits and often with contrasting leather-colored shoes (in the old by-gone "spats" style) who also was of the post-war era with the governor from northwest Baltimore and also learned the levers of power and influence in the House of Delegates with its own unique traditions, with its smaller districts, larger membership, more frequent elections and only two-year terms. Later as Speaker of the House, Mandel working through and guiding the back-room discussions and open-floor debates in the chambers, halls, ante-rooms, leadership and delegates' offices and committee rooms around State Circle at the red-brick colonial-era of the Georgian/Federal styled State House, the adjacent recently built legislative office buildings.
Further north by the shores of the Patapsco River, around the old hoary 19th Century Victorian decoration of the City Hall of Baltimore with its Beaver Dam marble corridors by the domed rotunda of stained glass skylights of Baltimore symbols and scenes, outside the City Council chambers of elaborate carved wooden antique mahogany desks, protected by brass rails, brocaded velvet curtains and wood-paneled window shutters. As familiar to Mandel, the Baltimore Jewish lawyer with the "movers and shakers" of old Democratic Councilmen and Mayors as the Annapolis sittings with its surrounding bureaucrats and offices of state or municipal boards and commissions Mandel worked to influence City leaders to approve or co-fund his projects and ideas and even lobbied councilmen to pass on their influence on delegates and senators in their districts. Along with rising knowledge and friendships with representatives in the surrounding counties in Towson, Westminster, Bel Air, Ellicott City, and the Arundel Center/Anne Arundel County Courthouse in Annapolis. With a large majority of legislators in central Maryland, with the greatest centers of population (and campaign contributions), a big foothold could be made for any Mandel executive initiative from the state capital and its halls and offices, within the radius of 50 miles.
McGuirk, experienced and senior in the upper chamber of the State Senate, reelected numerous times by his district and South with Southwest Baltimore, headed one of the last of the old-style, almost legendary. city "machine" political organizations, the infamous but sometimes amusing "Stonewall Democratic Club" in a 1940s-era "formstoned" facade rowhouse alongside a side alley (with an "easy out" side door) facing South Charles Street, near Light Street, the historic Cross Street Markethouse (one of the original eleven municipal neighborhood markets, now down to seven with merchants' stalls) and the heights and neighborhood of historic Federal Hill with its "good 'ol 'bhoys" network of neighboring political, social, ethnic/nationality or sporting clubs and associations in other blue-collar, waterfront, ethnic communities on the south or southwest sides of the harbor such as Locust Point, Pigtown/Washington Village, Westport, Lakeland, Morrell Park, Violetville, Mount Winans, Cherry Hill and former Anne Arundel County towns across the old Hanover Street Bridge of 1917 and the Middle or old Ferry Branch of the Patapsco River of Brooklyn and Curtis Bay now annexed into the southern City. So McGuirk from the Harbor Southside described the new reformist/independent, ("in-the-mold" of the then similarly elected 39th President Jimmy Carter, a moderate/progressive "New South" Democratic governor from Georgia, strong on civil rights on an anti-establishment, touted as a plain "down-to-earth" peanut farmer man, with impeccable moral values unlike the now discredited Nixon and Agnew, rode an anti-Watergate disgust wave from the 1976 American voters. Like the recent national party candidates of McGovern and Carter, but still nominally Democratic Party candidate, "way-out-of-left-field" candidate Harry Hughes was just the right fit for then mood of the Marylanders, tired of the Mandel vaunted political efficiency but embarrassed at the political/legal/domestic state drama. Although many local pundits and observers discounted and spoke somewhat disparagingly in the quiet primary, an unexpected endorsement in the editorial column of the biggest, well-known, main, daily big city paper, The Baltimore Sun (often referred to as "The Sunpapers" by local, long-time residents) which suddenly, somehow seemed this year to provide the "oomph"! in the election campaign and activity to put the little-known Eastern Shore Democrat past his primary opponents, including veteran McGuirk and incumbent Lee in the November general election where the second turnout is usually low, absent on personalities and concerned mostly with referendums, political or social questions, bond issues and million dollar loans for big "pork barrel" public works projects, with reorganization and "licking-their-wounds" among the expected "stamped-in-approval" and already "shoo-in", now official party candidates of earlier primary election winners of the heavily dominant "Dems" in the City and some adjacent parts of the County, some still with their old political clubs, ethnic clubs and newer neighborhood improvement associations with their "walk-around men" of election workers. Long-time State Sen. McGuirk of Stonewall, last of his 19th Century kind, was often famously quoted describing the new reform candidate as a "lost ball in the tall grass" Within the next three days of the new reformist governors Inauguration Day ceremonies and celebration in Annapolis, three separate persons served and occupied the office of the Governor of Maryland, Mandel – the 56th, Blair Lee – acting and as the 57th, and the new governor-elect – the 58th, Harry R. Hughes of Caroline County, former first Secretary of the State Department of Transportation. Mandel had already served nineteen months of his original sentence in the low-security Federal prison camp at Eglin Air Force Base, in Florida near the Gulf of Mexico coast, before having his sentence interestingly commuted and he was released early by the leader of the national opposition party, the Republican 40th President, Ronald Reagan. Based on the reasoning of an opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, a lower U.S. District Court Judge, with the persistent advocacy of Mandel's famous local trial counsel, Arnold M. Weiner, overturned the former governor's conviction in 1987, a decade later. A year after that, the higher U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the final decision, ending the long legal and political saga, now in the hands of historians, archivists and book authors.
In addition separately, in 1980, Mandel's administrative aide Maurice R. Wyatt, a Maryland 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 payments for land development and septic tank installation moratoriums. Although not connected with Gov. Mandel's personal integrity and administration, these additional trials and convictions cast a pall on an otherwise overwhelming record of positive accomplishments in Maryland during the Mandel years.
In a modern version of "damnatio memoriae", Mandel's official gubernatorial portrait was not hung in the governor's Reception Room of the Maryland State House, the historic state capitol, with the most recent occupants of the office, until 1993, fourteen years after he left the executive chair and two administrations had intervened.
Mandel married the former Barbara Oberfeld (his first wife) on June 8, 1941, at age 22 and later had two children, Gary and Ellen. In 1974, after temporarily moving out of the governor's Mansion into a small Annapolis apartment and separating from his first wife. Mandel later obtained a decree of divorce from Barbara who had remained in the Mansion and attempted to continue to act as "First Lady" and maintain a domestic life. After finally coming to a legal and domestic agreement, the first Mrs. Mandel left and moved to her own quarters. Later, the governor soon married the former Jeanne Blackistone Dorsey, who occasionally entertained and performed some official functions as "First Lady" of the State in the later Mandel administration. The second Mrs. Mandel died October 6, 2001, after 27 years of marriage to Mr. Mandel.
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.
- "Marvin Mandel". National Governors Association. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS". Maryland State Archives. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- University of Maryland A to Z: MAC to Millennium: Alumni of Note
- "Marvin Mandel". Maryland State Archives.
- James A. Clark, Jr. Jim Clark : Soldier, Farmer, Legislator / A Memoir. p. 151.
- Paul C. Leibe (September 28, 2007). "30 years ago, turmoil surrounded Gov. Mandel". Southern Maryland Newspapers. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- "3 Given Probation, Fines for Bribery". The Washington Post. 22 July 1980.
- Timberg, Robert (October 14, 1993). "Mandel portrait hung in State House". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved June 20, 2009.
- "Gov. Mandel Resigns from University System of Maryland Board of Regents". US Fed News Service, Including US State News. February 4, 2009. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- Maryland Manual official state gubernatorial biography
- First Lady Jeanne Blackistone Dorsey Mandel
- Jeanne Mandel gravesite
- Mandel bio from archive
- Jeanne Blackistone Dorsey Mandel from archives
|Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates
|Governor of Maryland
|Chairperson of the National Governors Association
|Party political offices|
|Democratic nominee for Governor of Maryland
1969, 1970, 1974