Fiorello La Guardia

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Fiorello La Guardia
Mayor La Guardia speaks over WNYC on Grade A milk from Budget Room, 1940.
99th Mayor of New York City
In office
1 Janury 1934 – 31 December 1945
Preceded byJohn P. O'Brien
Succeeded byWilliam O'Dwyer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 20th district
In office
March 4, 1923 – March 3, 1933
Preceded byIsaac Siegel
Succeeded byJames J. Lanzetta
10th President of the New York City Board of Aldermen
In office
January 1, 1920 – December 31, 1921
Preceded byRobert L. Moran
Succeeded byMurray Hulbert
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 14th district
In office
March 4, 1917 – December 31, 1919
Preceded byMichael F. Farley
Succeeded byNathan D. Perlman
Personal details
Born11 December 1882
Greenwich Village, Manhattan
Died20 September 1947 (aged 64)
Bronx, New York City
Political partyRepublican

Fiorello Henry La Guardia (sometimes LaGuardia) (pronounced /fiəˈrɛloʊ ləˈɡwɑrdiə/; born Fiorello Enrico La Guardia) was Mayor of New York City for three terms from 1934 to 1945. A member of the Republican Party,[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] La Guardia is acclaimed as one of the greatest mayors in American history.

Career[change | change source]

He was elected to Congress in 1916 and 1918, and again from 1922 through 1930. La Guardia is often touted as one of the greatest mayors in American history. Since he was only five feet tall and his first name was Italian for "Little Flower", he was called "the Little Flower" throughout his life.[9] He moved to Arizona with his family, where his father had a bandmaster position at Fort Whipple in the U.S. Army.

La Guardia, a Republican who was liked across party lines, was very popular in New York during the Great Depression. As a supporter of the New Deal, he supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, and in turn Roosevelt heavily funded the city and cut off patronage from many politicians and establishments who did not support La Guardia. Many people felt that La Guardia improved New York City economically and socially and restored public faith in City Hall.

During his terms, he unified the transit system, directed the building of low-cost public housing, public playgrounds, and parks, constructed airports, reorganized the police force, defeated the powerful political machine Tammany Hall, and improved employment rates in New York City, even during the depression.

In the mid-1940s, there was a newspaper strike in New York City. La Guardia responded to the public clamor by sitting at a radio microphone and describing and reading the Sunday comics to the children of the city. He described the cartoons and portrayed the dialects and accents of the characters. This endeared La Guardia to the electorate and the children of New York and gave him a larger national image.

Personal life[change | change source]

La Guardia’s father was a Roman Catholic-turned-atheist, and his mother was Jewish, albeit a non practising one.[10] La Guardia himself was Episcopalian.[11]

La Guardia was a Freemason.[12]

References[change | change source]

  1. Elliott, Lawrence 1983. Little Flower: The Life and Times of Fiorello La Guardia. New York: William Morrow. ISBN 0-688-02057-7.
  2. Garrett, Charles 1961. The La Guardia Years: Machine and Reform Politics in New York City. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
  3. Goldstein, Richard 2010. Helluva Town: The Story of New York City During World War II. Online review
  4. Hecksher II, August 1978. When La Guardia Was Mayor: New York's Legendary Years. New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-07534-6.
  5. Jeffers H. Paul 2002 The Napoleon of New York: Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. New York: John Wiley. ISBN 0-471-02465-1. The%20Napoleon%20of%20New%20York%3a%20Mayor%20Fiorello%20La%20Guardia online edition[permanent dead link].
  6. Kaufman, Herbert "Fiorello H. La Guardia, Political Maverick". Political Science Quarterly 1990 105(1): 113–122. ISSN 0032-3195 in Jstor
  7. Kessner, Thomas. 1993. "Fiorello H. LaGuardia." History Teacher. 26(2): 151–159. ISSN 0018-2745 in Jstor
  8. Kessner, Thomas 1989. Fiorello H. LaGuardia and the Making of Modern New York. New York: McGraw-Hill ISBN 0-07-034244-X
  9. Gunther, John (1947). "The Not-So-Little Flower". Inside U.S.A. New York, London: Harper & Brothers. pp. 578–588.
  10. Brodsky, Alyn (2003-06-29). "'The Great Mayor'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-02-17.
  11. "Le radici triestine di Fiorello LaGuardialeggendario sindaco di New York City". Il Piccolo (in Italian). 2007-05-31. Retrieved 2023-02-17.
  12. "Home". Archived from the original on 2023-01-03. Retrieved 2023-02-17.