Martin H. Kennelly

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Martin H. Kennelly
47th Mayor of Chicago
In office
April 15, 1947 – April 20, 1955
Preceded by Edward J. Kelly
Succeeded by Richard J. Daley
Personal details
Born Martin Henry Kennelly
(1887-08-11)August 11, 1887
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died November 29, 1961(1961-11-29) (aged 74)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Resting place Calvary Cemetery
(Evanston, Illinois, U.S.)
Political party Democratic
Alma mater De La Salle Institute
Religion Roman Catholic

Martin Henry Kennelly (August 11, 1887 – November 29, 1961) was an American politician and businessman. He served as mayor of Chicago, Illinois from April 15, 1947 to April 20, 1955. He was a member of the Democratic Party.

Early life

Kennelly was born in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood, the youngest of five children.[1] He served in the United States Army during World War I with the rank of captain. After the war he returned to Chicago and entered the moving and storage business, and lived on the north end of Lake Shore Drive (5555 North Sheridan Road).

Early career

He was the founder and first president of Allied Van Lines, an alliance that united independent local moving and storage companies under a single brand. A contemporary of Marshall Field, a prominent Chicago retailer, Kennelly's moving company got the contract for Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. After retiring, he was involved in social and civic affairs. He was the head of the Chicago chapter of the American Red Cross during World War II.[2]

Mayor of Chicago

When the city administration of Edward J. Kelly was threatened with defeat by corruption, scandal and Kelly's liberal integrationist policies (Kelly notably had said that African-Americans were free to live anywhere in the city) the Cook County Democratic Party Machine responded by slating Kennelly as a reform candidate.[3] Kennelly returned to the Bridgeport neighborhood and ran for mayor from an apartment in the predominantly Irish American working-class community of his childhood. Kennelly was elected in 1947, receiving 920,000 (59%) votes defeating Republican Russell Root.[4] Kennelly proved to be too independent and reform-oriented for his regular Democratic Party sponsors [5] and was dumped by the party bosses at the 1955 endorsement slating in favor of Richard J. Daley. Daley soundly defeated Kennelly in the 1955 Democratic Primary and went on to election in 1955.


Kennelly died from heart failure on November 29, 1961, at age 74, and was interred at Calvary Cemetery, Evanston, Illinois.[6]


  1. Green, Paul M., and Holli, Melvin G. (1995) The Mayors: The Chicago Political Tradition, Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press, 127-128 ISBN 0-8093-1961-6
  2. UIC University Library
  3. Pacyyga, Dominic, Chicago: A Biography, 2009, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 324 ISBN 0-226-64431-6
  4. Green, Paul M., and Holli, Melvin G. (1995) The Mayors: The Chicago Political Tradition, Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press, 130 ISBN 0-8093-1961-6
  5. O'Connor, Len (1975). Clout: Mayor Daley and His City. Henry Renery Company.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. NNDB: Martin H. Kennelly
Political offices
Preceded by
Edward J. Kelly
Mayor of Chicago
Succeeded by
Richard J. Daley