John Hynes (politician)

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John Bernard Hynes
John B Hynes of Boston USA 10926270034.jpg
Hynes circa 1965
49th Mayor of Boston
In office
January 2, 1950[1] – January 4, 1960[2]
Preceded byJames Michael Curley
Succeeded byJohn F. Collins
In office
June 26, 1947 – November 26, 1947
Preceded byJames Michael Curley
Succeeded byJames Michael Curley
Personal details
BornSeptember 22, 1897
Boston, Massachusetts
DiedJanuary 6, 1970(1970-01-06) (aged 72)
Carney Hospital
Boston, Massachusetts
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materSuffolk University Law School

John Bernard Hynes (September 22, 1897 – January 6, 1970), was the Mayor of Boston from 1950 to 1960.[3]

Early years[edit]

Hynes was born on September 22, 1897, the son of Bernard Hynes of Abbey Street, Loughrea, County Galway, Ireland, who emigrated to Boston about 1890. Bernard Hynes was a member of the Hynes family of Kylegarriff, Killeenadeema parish, Loughrea.


Hynes began his career at city hall in 1920 as a clerk in the health department. He later transferred to the auditing department and was chief clerk in the Mayor's office during James Michael Curley's 1922 to 1926 term. On January 4, 1926, Hynes became the city's assistant budget commissioner. He earned his high school and college diplomas through evening classes, graduating from Suffolk University Law School in 1927. On June 18, 1929 he was appointed assistant city clerk.[4] In August 1943, Hynes was commissioned a Major in the United States Army.[5] He was discharged that December due to a reoccurrence of a chronic ear issue and returned to the city clerk's office.[6] On September 1, 1945 he became Boston's city clerk.[7]

On June 26, 1947, Mayor James Michael Curley was sentenced to six to eighteen months in prison for mail fraud. The city charter allowed the president of the city council to serve as acting mayor in the mayor's absence, but his powers were limited unless the mayor was deceased. The Massachusetts General Court passed emergency legislation to bypass council president John B. Kelly, who had recently been acquitted on bribery charges and was in ill health, and to grant full Mayoral powers to Hynes (who as city clerk was second in the line of succession) until Curley's release from prison.[8][9]

Curley, upon his return from prison, commented to the press, "I have accomplished more in one day than has been done in the five months of my absence."[10] Stung by this off-hand but disparaging comment about his performance as acting mayor, Hynes decided to challenge Curley in the November 1949 election, and defeated him.

Because of a change to the mayoral election system, the next election was held in November 1951, when Hynes again defeated Curley. Hynes faced Curley a third time in the 1955 mayoral race; Curley was eliminated in the preliminary election, and Hynes defeated John E. Powers in the general election. Overall, Hynes served as mayor from January 2, 1950, until January 4, 1960.

Hynes died on January 6, 1970, at Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Boston.[3]


During his tenure as mayor, he oversaw the opening of the Central Artery elevated highway through the city's waterfront district, as well as the opening of the Freedom Trail, which traces many of Boston's Revolutionary War era landmarks. He was responsible for founding the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), which laid the foundation for developments in Boston in the 1950s and beyond including the controversial razing of the West End. Hynes and his successors, John Collins and Kevin White, are most responsible for the modernization of the city of Boston. The Hynes Convention Center, located in the Back Bay section of Boston, is named for him. One son, Jack Hynes, was a longtime Boston news anchor.[11] Another son, Richard Hynes, taught at Boston University.[12] A third son, Barry T. Hynes, served on the Boston City Council and was Boston's city clerk.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lewis, William (January 2, 1950). "Hynes Becomes Boston Mayor Today". The Boston Globe. p. 1. Retrieved March 16, 2018 – via
  2. ^ "Collins Will Take Oath Today". The Boston Globe. January 4, 1960. p. 1. Retrieved March 17, 2018 – via
  3. ^ a b "John Hynes Dies. Boston Ex‐mayor". The New York Times. Associated Press. January 7, 1970.
  4. ^ "Hynes Assistant Boston City Clerk". The Boston Daily Globe. June 19, 1929.
  5. ^ "Testimonial Dinner Given John B. Hynes, Now Major in Army". The Boston Daily Globe. August 27, 1943.
  6. ^ "Asst. City Clerk Hynes Back on Job Monday". The Boston Daily Globe. December 25, 1943.
  7. ^ "Thumbnail Sketch of John B. Hynes". The Boston Daily Globe. June 22, 1947.
  8. ^ "Hynes Is Temporary Mayor: Curley Starts Prison Term in Danbury, Conn. City Clerk Sworn In as Legislature Enacts Law By-Passing Kelly". The Boston Daily Globe. June 27, 1947. p. 1. Retrieved June 11, 2021 – via
  9. ^ "Kelly Collapses in Office". The Boston Daily Globe. June 11, 1947.
  10. ^ Colleran, William (October 2, 2014). "Providence can learn from Boston's Mayor James Michael Curley". The Providence Journal. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  11. ^ "JOHN B. "JACK" HYNES Jr". February 16, 2018. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  12. ^ "RICHARD W. HYNES". February 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Aloisi, James (February 18, 2018). "He brought Boston back from the brink". CommonWealth. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  • Beatty, Jack, The Rascal King: The Life and Times of James Michael Curley, 1874–1958, 1992.
  • Krieger, Alex, David Cobb & Amy Turner, editors, Mapping Boston. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1999.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts
Succeeded by