Paul O'Dwyer

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Paul O'Dwyer
Paul O'Dwyer 1968 (5874062127) (cropped).jpg
O'Dwyer In 1968
President of the New York City Council
In office
1974–1977
Preceded bySanford Garelik
Succeeded byCarol Bellamy
Personal details
Born
Peter Paul O'Dwyer

(1907-06-29)June 29, 1907
Bohola, County Mayo, Ireland
DiedJune 23, 1998(1998-06-23) (aged 90)

Peter Paul O'Dwyer (June 29, 1907 – June 23, 1998) was an Irish-born American politician and civil rights lawyer who served as President of the New York City Council during 1974–1977. He was the younger brother of Mayor William O'Dwyer, and the father of New York State Gaming Commission Chair Brian O'Dwyer.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Paul O'Dwyer was born in Bohola, County Mayo, Ireland, and in 1925 emigrated to Brooklyn, New York. He was educated at Fordham University and St. John's Law School, and became a United States citizen in 1931.[1]

Active in local Irish-American organizations as a young man, O'Dwyer had a law practice in downtown Brooklyn while his brother William served as the borough's magistrate.[2] In the late 1930s, O'Dwyer was the chairman of the Downtown Brooklyn Community Council.[3] When his brother became Kings County District Attorney in 1940, Paul O'Dwyer moved his law practice from Brooklyn to Manhattan, saying, "I do not wish to be representing a defendant when my brother is in charge of the prosecution."[4]

Prior to Pearl Harbor, O'Dwyer was a vehement opponent of American involvement in World War II. As chairman of the American Friends of Irish Neutrality, he traveled the United States to speak with and rally pro-neutrality (particularly Irish-American) groups.[5][6]

Some of O'Dwyer's more renowned legal cases were those involving people accused of Communist activities. Active in the National Lawyers Guild, he became its president in 1947 and served on its national board from 1948 to 1951.[7] He supported both constitutionalist and Irish republican initiatives. His influence protected several Irish Republican Army gunmen from deportation, including "The Fort Worth Five" and Vincent Conlon.[8][9]

O'Dwyer supported the illegal transportation of weapons to Palestine in the 1940s and to Northern Ireland in the 1970s, and admitted knowledge of such smuggling routes. He considered the transportation of arms to be an acceptable form of smuggling and compared it to the smuggling of narcotics.[10]

O'Dwyer publicly opposed library censorship of books by leftists,[11] defended labor union leaders and alleged anarchists,[12][13] supported the left-wing American Labor Party,[14] challenged racial segregation in New York housing and on Wall Street,[15][16][17] fought for the creation of Israel,[18][19] organized Black voters in the South,[20] represented striking Kentucky coal miners, argued for the rights of mainland Puerto Rican voters before the U.S. Supreme Court,[21] sued New York City to keep transit fares low,[22] and led an April 1969 antiwar march of tens of thousands of protesters from Times Square to Central Park.[23]

O'Dwyer's downtown Manhattan law office famously served as the resting place of the acerbic writer Dorothy Parker, whose ashes were kept in a filing cabinet there for decades.[24]

Active in New York City politics, O'Dwyer ran for political office several times. In 1948, he narrowly lost an election for the U.S. House of Representatives seat on Manhattan's Upper West Side to the Republican incumbent Jacob K. Javits.[25]

O'Dwyer's two general election victories took place in city elections. He was elected to the city council from an at-large seat representing all of Manhattan for a term from 1963 to 1965.[26] In 1973, O'Dwyer won election to the position of New York City Council President, which was then one of three citywide elected positions.[27] He served in that capacity from 1974 to 1977. However, in 1965, O'Dwyer ran for mayor but finished a distant fourth in the Democratic primary won by Abe Beame.[28]

In 1968, in opposition to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and with the support of presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy, O'Dwyer ran in the Democratic Party primary for U.S. Senator from New York and surprised observers with an upset victory.[29] Again he found his candidacy opposing popular Republican Party incumbent Jacob Javits and again O'Dwyer lost in the general election.[30] In 1970, he ran in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senator against Ted Sorensen, Richard Ottinger and Max McCarthy, but was defeated by Ottinger.[31] He was also an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate that was won by Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1976.[32]

In 1986, Manhattan Borough President Andrew Stein appointed O'Dwyer the Manhattan Borough Historian.[33][34]

Personal life[edit]

O'Dwyer was the youngest of eleven siblings.[35] His eldest brother was New York City Mayor William O'Dwyer, who was 17 years his senior.[36] The O'Dwyers were maternal uncles of lawyer and activist Frank Durkan.[37] Paul was married for 45 years to Kathleen (Rohan) O'Dwyer.[38] Their son Brian is a New York City lawyer.[39] O'Dwyer's second wife was attorney Patricia (Hanrahan) O'Dwyer.[40]

Paul O'Dwyer died six days before his 91st birthday in 1998.[41][42][43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Clines, Francis X. (June 25, 1998). "Paul O'Dwyer, New York's Liberal Battler For Underdogs and Outsiders, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Retrieved August 25, 2022.
  2. ^ O'Laughlin, Edward T. (June 4, 1935). "O'Loughlin's Column: The Galtimores". Brooklyn Times Union. p. 10A. Retrieved September 19, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "Meeting Urges Wagner Health Bill Passage". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. May 27, 1939. p. 3. Retrieved September 22, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "O'Dwyer's Brother Won't Face Him as Criminal Lawyer". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. November 15, 1939. p. 3. Retrieved September 22, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "Many Masses For Eire On April 19". The Tablet (Brooklyn, New York). April 12, 1941. p. 2. Retrieved August 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ ""Keep Ireland Out of the War" (advertisement)". The Tablet (Brooklyn, New York). May 31, 1941. p. 7. Retrieved August 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ Crosson, John (July 23, 1948). "Tiger To Purr For Brother Of O'Dwyer". New York Daily News. pp. 2, 30. Retrieved September 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Case of 'Fort Worth Five': Civil liberties battle feared". The Vancouver Sun. CDN. July 26, 1972. p. 20. Retrieved August 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "The passing of Vince Conlon noted at famous IRA shrine". Philadelphia Daily News. June 23, 1995. p. 42. Retrieved September 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ Taylor, Peter (May 8, 1975). "Hands Across the Sea". This Week. 18:37 minutes in. ITV. Thames Television. Retrieved November 21, 2022 – via YouTube (official channel).
  11. ^ "'Citizen Paine' On Way Out as Board Votes Ban". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. February 27, 1947. p. 3. Retrieved September 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "Paul O'Dwyer Held in Contempt". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 8, 1949. pp. 1, 17. Retrieved September 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "Claim Fair Trial Is Out For Anarchy Suspects". New York Daily News. June 24, 1967. p. C6. Retrieved September 20, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "Lawyers Guild OK Given ALP Choices For Judicial Posts". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. October 17, 1948. p. 36. Retrieved September 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ "Seek to Make New York FEPC Effective". Alabama Tribune. NNPA. December 5, 1947. p. 2. Retrieved September 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "Official Says FHA Policy Comes From D.C." Alabama Tribune. NNPA. March 25, 1949. p. 5. Retrieved September 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ "Metropolitan Seeks Ejection Of Tenants". Alabama Tribune. NNPA. December 22, 1950. p. 6. Retrieved September 17, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "Palestine Arms Cache, 2 Zionists Seized in N.Y." Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Associated Press. April 29, 1948. p. 1. Retrieved September 19, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ "Friendship Award To Paul O'Dwyer". New York Daily News. December 14, 1967. p. K3. Retrieved September 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ "Lawyers to Monitor Mississippi Voting". New York Daily News. November 4, 1967. p. 7. Retrieved September 16, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ "Paul O'Dwyer, NYC's champion of causes". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. June 25, 1998. p. 2-10. Retrieved September 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ "Board Sues to Force TA Subsidy". New York Daily News. February 4, 1967. p. 7. Retrieved September 20, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  23. ^ "Thousands March in New York City, Chicago to Protest War in Vietnam". Louisville Courier-Journal. Associated Press. April 6, 1969. p. 3. Retrieved September 20, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ Shapiro, Laurie Gwen (September 4, 2020). "The Improbable Journey of Dorothy Parker's Ashes". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 13, 2022 – via newyorker.com.
  25. ^ "Javits Defeats O'Dwyer, Brother of N.Y. Mayor". Buffalo Evening News. Associated Press. November 3, 1948. p. 58. Retrieved September 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  26. ^ Schlegel, Harry (November 5, 1963). "Dems Victors, GOP Takes 5 Council-at-Large Seats". New York Daily News. p. 3. Retrieved September 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ "O'Dwyer Captures N.Y. Council Post". Asbury Park Press. Associated Press. November 7, 1973. p. 6. Retrieved September 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  28. ^ Desmond, James (September 15, 1965). "Beame's Entire Ticket Is Swept In". New York Daily News. p. 3. Retrieved September 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  29. ^ Schlegel, Harry (June 18, 1968). "One More Surprise: O'Dwyer Wins!". New York Daily News. p. 3. Retrieved September 12, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  30. ^ Poster, Thomas (November 6, 1968). "Javits Wins Third Term Easily". New York Daily News. p. 7. Retrieved September 16, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  31. ^ Spagnoli, Gene (June 24, 1970). "Ottinger Wins Senate Race On Surge of Upstate Votes". New York Daily News. p. 3. Retrieved September 16, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  32. ^ "Election Results at a Glance: Democratic U.S. Senator". New York Daily News. September 16, 1976. p. 25. Retrieved September 16, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  33. ^ "Our borough historians: The past is their passion". Staten Island Advance. July 18, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  34. ^ "Paul O'Dwyer speaks about the 10th Anniversary of the Hunger Strikes". NYU. April 19, 1991. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  35. ^ Dwyer, Jim (June 25, 1998). "Family man with passion for Family of Man". New York Daily News. p. 8. Retrieved September 16, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  36. ^ Kline, Sidney (November 25, 1964). "A Dream Story Ends: O'Dwyer Dies at 74". New York Daily News. p. 2. Retrieved September 16, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  37. ^ Martin, Douglas (November 20, 2006). "Frank Durkan: lawyer, defender of Irish nationalists". Ventura County (California) Star. p. B5. Retrieved September 16, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  38. ^ Breslin, Jimmy (December 5, 1982). "A Life Remembered: Paul O'Dwyer loses mate of 45 years". New York Daily News. p. 6. Retrieved September 16, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  39. ^ Lewis, David L. (June 27, 1998). "Famous, nameless pay their respect at O'Dwyer's wake". New York Daily News. p. 43CNL. Retrieved September 16, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  40. ^ "She gets her law degree 60 years after O'Dwyer". New York Daily News. May 26, 1989. p. 11. Retrieved September 16, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  41. ^ "Paul O'Dwyer: A vote for civil rights". The Guardian (London). June 26, 1998. p. A22. Retrieved September 16, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  42. ^ Schwartzman, Paul (June 28, 1998). "Funeral rites for Paul O'Dwyer". New York Daily News. p. 4. Retrieved September 16, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  43. ^ Breslin, Jimmy (June 28, 1998). "A Sad and Quiet Wake for Paul O'Dwyer". Newsday. pp. B4, B15. Retrieved September 16, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.

External links[edit]

  • Paul O'Dwyer Papers at Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University Special Collections
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from New York
(Class 3)

1968
Succeeded by
Preceded by
New district
New York City Council, Manhattan At-large
1964–1965
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the New York City Council
1974–1977
Succeeded by
Educational offices
Preceded by
Manhattan Borough Historian
1986–1990
Succeeded by
Doris Rosenblum