Fred A. Busse

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Fred A. Busse
Treasurer of Illinois
In office
Preceded byMoses O. Williamson
Succeeded byLen Small
39th Mayor of Chicago
In office
Preceded byEdward F. Dunne
Succeeded byCarter Harrison, Jr.
Personal details
Born(1866-03-03)March 3, 1866
Chicago, Illinois
DiedJuly 9, 1914(1914-07-09) (aged 48)
Chicago, Illinois
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Josephine Lee Busse
ResidenceChicago, Illinois

Fred A. Busse (March 3, 1866 – July 9, 1914) was the mayor of Chicago, in the U.S. state of Illinois, from 1907 to 1911.[1]


Busse became a local Republican leader, first elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1894 and again in 1896. In 1898, Busse was elected to the Illinois State Senate. He then served as Illinois state treasurer beginning in 1902. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him Postmaster of Chicago, a political position at that time (see USPS History). He won the 1907 election for mayor against Democratic incumbent Edward F. Dunne. In business, Busse had been Secretary and Treasurer of the Northwestern Coal Company until 1905.[2][3]

Busse's mayoral tenure is noted for its extensive corruption and presence of organized crime in the city. Busse's inaction in the face of growing popular concern led to the formation of several organizations opposed to crime and desirous of cleaning up the city government.[4] Busse's image was used by at least one brothel owner to promote her business. While reform, both political and moral, was beginning to appear Chicago, Busse noted, "They don't need anyone sleuthing around after me. They can always get me any evening at J.C. Murphy's saloon, Clark Street and North Avenue."[4] By 1907, pressure was strong enough that Busse was forced to appoint a vice commission, although the commission didn't issue a report until Busse was out of office.[5]

As mayor, Busse was a strong supporter of the Plan of Chicago.

He died on July 9, 1914 of valvular heart disease at 48 in Chicago, Illinois.[1] He was buried in Graceland Cemetery.


  1. ^ a b "Fred A. Busse Dead. Ex-Mayor and ex-Postmaster of Chicago and Republican Leader" (PDF). New York Times. July 9, 1914.
  2. ^ Men of Affairs: a gallery of cartoon portraits, Chicago Evening Post, 1906; page 154.
  3. ^ Chicago Public Library-Mayor Fred A. Busse biography
  4. ^ a b Abbott, Karen (2007). Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul. New York: Random House. pp. 146–147, 165–166. ISBN 978-1-4000-6530-1.
  5. ^ Merriner, James L. (2004). Grafters and Goo Goos: Corruption and Reform in Chicago, 1833-2003. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. p. 92. ISBN 0-8093-2571-3.
Political offices
Preceded by
Moses O. Williamson
Treasurer of Illinois
Succeeded by
Len Small