Murray Seasongood

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Murray Seasongood
36th Mayor of Cincinnati
In office
January 1, 1926 – January 2, 1930
Preceded byGeorge Carrell
Succeeded byRussell Wilson
Personal details
Born(1878-10-27)October 27, 1878
Cincinnati, Ohio
DiedFebruary 21, 1983(1983-02-21) (aged 104)
Cincinnati, Ohio
Political partyCharter Party
Alma materHarvard University
Harvard Law School
ProfessionLawyer, Politician

Murray Seasongood (October 27, 1878 – February 21, 1983) was an American lawyer and politician.[1] He led a government reform movement in Cincinnati, founding the Charter Party and served as the Mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio from 1926 to 1930. He was the first mayor under the city’s 1925 charter.

Early life and career[edit]

He was born in Cincinnati on October 27, 1878. His father was a wealthy clothing merchant.[2] He graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Law School and began a career in the law with Warrington & Paxton.[3]

Mayor of Cincinnati[edit]

Cincinnati had a notoriously corrupt government under George B. Cox, also known as “Boss” Cox. Lincoln Steffens called Cincinnati of the two worst governed cities in the United States.[2] In 1905, then-Secretary of War William Howard Taft delivered a speech in Akron that attacked the corruption under Cox.[4]

Although Cox’s candidate was defeated in that election, his political machine continued to dominate the city. In 1921, Republicans controlled 31 out of 32 seats on the city council. Seasongood, himself a Republican, founded the City Charter Committee and placed a reform agenda to break the bosses’ control of city politics.[2]

The new Charter passed in 1924 and reorganized the city council from 32 members to nine with non-partisan elections. It created a civil service system to eliminate political patronage and made Cincinnati the first large city with a council-manager administration. With the new charter in place, Seasongood was elected to the Cincinnati City Council. His colleagues on the council elected him as the first mayor under the new system.[5]

As Mayor, Seasongood was instrumental in the establishment of a county park board, after visiting and admiring the Emerald Necklace that is Cleveland Metroparks.[6] He is the namesake of the Murray Seasongood Pavilion in Eden Park, Cincinnati.[7]

Later life[edit]

After leaving the mayor’s office, he continued his legal practice and was appointed as a law professor at Harvard Law School. In the 1930’s he founded a committee to end Republican control of Hamilton County. He fought against attempts to reverse his reforms and wrote articles on municipal governance. When once asked what his hobby was, he responded by saying, "Good government."

He maintain his legal practice at Paxton & Seasongood even at the age of 100. Seasongood died February 21, 1983 at the age of 104.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ CINCINNATI Jewish Virtual Library
  2. ^ a b c "Murray Seasongood at 100". Cincinnati Magazine. September 1978.
  3. ^ a b "Murray Seasongood, Lawyer; Ex-Cincinnati Mayor was 104". New York Times. 1983-02-23.
  4. ^ "Hunt of Cincinnati". Munsey’s Magazine. 48. 1912.
  5. ^ "What's Next for the Charter Committee?". City Beat. 2012-08-01.
  6. ^ Pender, Linda (Jul 1983). "Pick a Park, Pack Up and Go". Cincinnati Magazine Jul 1983. p. 66. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
  7. ^ Felix Winternitz & Sacha DeVroomen Bellman (2007). Insiders' Guide to Cincinnati. Globe Pequot. p. 189. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
Political offices
Preceded by
George Carrel
Mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio
1926 - 1929
Succeeded by
Russell Wilson
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Richard S. Childs
President of the National Municipal League
1931–1934
Succeeded by
Harold W. Dodds