Daniel P. O'Connell

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Daniel Patrick "Dan" O'Connell (November 13, 1885 – February 28, 1977) was the leader of the Democratic Party political machine in Albany County, New York, from about 1919 until his death.

O'Connell was born in Albany, New York, and dropped out of school in the fifth grade, finding work as a bricklayer. In 1919, he was elected County Assessor, and a few years later quit to become the chairman of the County Democratic Committee. In 1921, O’Connell was instrumental in the Democratic victory over the Republican political machine of William Barnes Jr., which had been in power in Albany for over 20 years, highlighted by the mayoral victory of William Stormont Hackett.

During the 56 years to come, O'Connell would remain behind the scenes, yet had undeniable power in the political life of Albany, determining patronage and essentially ruling the city during the administrations of mayors William Hackett, John Boyd Thacher II and most notably Erastus Corning 2nd.

According to Paul Grondahl's book, he is suspected to have ordered the murder of gangster Legs Diamond in 1931. William Kennedy's novel "Roscoe" is a fictionalized account of his life.

Further reading[edit]

  • Grondahl, Paul (2007). Mayor Erastus Corning: Albany Icon, Albany Enigma. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-7294-1.

Additional reading: Robinson, Frank, Machine Politics: A Study of Albany's O'Connells State University of New York Press 1977 Albany, New York, Albany Public Library