Robert T. Conrad

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Robert T. Conrad
Robert T. Conrad.jpg
Mayor of Philadelphia
In office
Preceded byCharles Gilpin
Succeeded byRichard Vaux
Personal details
Born(1810-06-10)June 10, 1810
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DiedJuly 27, 1858(1858-07-27) (aged 48)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Robert Taylor Conrad (June 10, 1810 – June 27, 1858)[1] was the first mayor of Philadelphia to take office following the Consolidation Act of 1854.[2]

Life and politics[edit]

He was the son of a publisher of Philadelphia, was educated for the bar, and attained a high reputation as a political speaker, and as an editor and poet. Before he was 21, he wrote a tragedy, Conradin, and in 1832 published the Daily Commercial Intelligencer, which was merged into the Philadelphia Gazette. Abandoning this occupation from failing health in 1834, he returned to the law, became recorder, and in 1838 judge of the criminal sessions for the city and county of Philadelphia. When the latter court was dissolved, he resumed the pen, edited Graham's Magazine, and became associate editor of the North American Review.[3]

Conrad was recorder (part-time judge) for the suburban township of Northern Liberties, which became part of the city under the Consolidation Act of 1854. In the 1854 Philadelphia mayoral election, Conrad was the nominee of both the Whigs and Know Nothings (later known as the American Party). He won in a landslide, riding a wave of nativist sentiment that swept the United States in the mid-1850s.[4] In 1856 he was appointed to the bench of the quarter sessions, serving in that capacity until 1857.

In literature he is best known by the tragedy of Aylmere, purchased by Edwin Forrest, in which that actor played the part of Jack Cade.[3] The play was said to be "one of the few American tragedies to hold the stage."[4] In 1852 Judge Conrad published a volume entitled Aylmere, or the Bondman of Kent, and other Poems, the principal poems being "The Sons of the Wilderness," a meditative poem on the wrongs and misfortunes of the North American Indians, and a series of sonnets on the Lord's Prayer. Another tragedy that he wrote, The Heretic, was never acted, nor published.[3]

Notably, Conrad lived in West Philadelphia (at the corner of Lancaster Road and Market Street) at a time when that part of the city was largely uninhabited.[5] Conrad was the son-in-law of U.S. Representative Thomas Kittera.[6]


  1. ^ Ridpath, J.C. (1898). The Ridpath Library of Universal Literature ...: A Biographical and Bibliographical Summary of the World's Most Eminent Authors, Including the Choicest Extracts and Masterpieces from Their Writings, Comprising the Best Features of Many Celebrated Compilations, Notably the Guernsey Collection, the De Puy Collection, the Ridpath Collection, All Carefully Rev. and Arranged by a Corps of the Most Capable Scholars. 6. Globe Publishing Company. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  2. ^ Simpson, Henry (1859). The Lives of Eminent Philadelphians, Now Deceased: Collected from Original and Authentic Sources. Oxford University. p. 247. Google Book Search, accessed 29 March 2009.
  3. ^ a b c Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1900). "Conrad, Robert Taylor" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
  4. ^ a b "Obituary. Death of two distinguished Philadelphians". New York Times, June 30, 1858. p. 2.
  5. ^ Rosenthal, Leon S. A History of Philadelphia's University City (1963)
  6. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum. "The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Kirksey to Kitto". Retrieved 13 May 2015.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Gilpin
Mayor of Philadelphia
Succeeded by
Richard Vaux