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
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.