Richard Reading

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Richard Reading
59th Mayor of Detroit, Michigan
In office
January 4, 1938 – January 1, 1940
Preceded by Frank Couzens
Succeeded by Edward Jeffries
Personal details
Born February 7, 1882
Detroit, Michigan
Died December 9, 1952 (1952-12-10) (aged 70)
Brighton, Michigan

Richard W. Reading (February 7, 1882 – December 9, 1952) was a Republican mayor of Detroit, Michigan from 1938 to 1940.


Richard Reading was born in Detroit on February 7, 1882, the son of Richard W. and Louise M. Reading.[1] He was educated in the Detroit Public Schools and attended the University of Detroit.[1]

Reading married Blanche White in 1901.[1] The couple had four children.[2]

Reading was for a time a semi-pro wrestler.[2] He later worked variously as a printer, a newspaper executive, and a real estate dealer before entering public life in 1921.[2]

Reading was appointed City Assessor in 1921, moved to City Controller in 1924, and was elected City Clerk in 1926.[1] He stayed in the office of clerk until 1939, when he ran for mayor, ultimately defeating Patrick H. O'Brien by nearly two-to-one.[2] However, once in the office, Reading engaged in graft, selling protection to numbers racketeers and promotions to police officers.[3] This corruption was exposed as the campaign for the next mayoral election was gearing up,[3] and Reading was crushed by Edward Jeffries.[3][4]

Shortly after leaving office, Reading was indicted on charges of accepting bribes and conspiring to protect Detroit's gambling rackets.[5] He was sentenced to four to five years in prison.[5]

Richard W. Reading died on December 9, 1952 in Brighton, Michigan.[6]

Political offices
Preceded by
Frank Couzens
Mayor of Detroit
January 4, 1938 – January 1, 1940
Succeeded by
Edward Jeffries


  1. ^ a b c d Who's Who in Detroit, 1935-36, Walter Romig & Co, 1935, p. 264 
  2. ^ a b c d "CIO Candidate is Defeated in Detroit Vote". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Nov 3, 1937. 
  3. ^ a b c Edward Jeffries; Dominic J. Capeci (1996), Detroit and the "Good War": the World War II letters of Mayor Edward Jeffries and friends, University Press of Kentucky, p. 6, ISBN 0-8131-1974-X 
  4. ^ "JEFFIES LIKELY WINNER; Detroit Mayor Seeks Fifth Term". New York Times. Nov 2, 1947. 
  5. ^ a b "Kilpatrick among other Detroit officials who have faced legal trouble". The Detroit News. March 24, 2008.