John P. O’Brien

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John Patrick O'Brien (1873-1951) was mayor of New York in 1933. He supported the Jewish War Veterans boycott of Nazi Germany.

With the city still reeling from the scandal that swept Jimmy Walker out of office, John O'Brien was elected to fill the remainder of Walker's term. He received his B.A. from Holy Cross College and his masters and law degree from Georgetown University. O'Brien served as City Corporation Counsel and as a New York Surrogate Court judge. Tammany Hall nominated him for mayor in 1932 and he beat the Republican candidate by more than half a million votes. Held in the Hall of Records, at 31 Chambers Street in Manhattan, O'Brien's inauguration was devoid of the pageantry that had greeted many of his predecessors. His inauguration speech did not outline a vision for the city, but rather, reflected on the work of the court and the legal profession in general. He told his colleagues, "I know it will be the bar of New York that will understand the situation, be able to survey it critically, but, at the same time, fairly and justly." Although O'Brien is credited with expanding the city's ability to collect taxes, restoring order to the city's finances, and trimming the budget, he served just one year in office and was not reelected to a second term. O'Brien returned to his legal work and served three times as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. He died on September 22, 1951, and was buried, as was his predecessor, Jimmy Walker, in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Westchester County.

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