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Edward Jeffries

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Edward J Jeffries Jr April 3, 1900 – April 2, 1950 was an American politician, councilman, and mayor of Detroit

Early life

Edward Jeffries was born in Detroit, Michigan, on April 3, 1900, the son of Judge Edward J Jeffries and Minnie Stott Jeffries12 The elder Jeffries was an alderman, a police justice, and a long-serving judge on the Recorder's Court3 He had run unsuccessfully for mayor multiple times, seeing himself as a representative of the underclass, and instilled in the younger Jeffries a sense of civic responsibility3

The younger Jeffries attended the Detroit Public Schools and the University of Michigan, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1920 and a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 192313 He then continued his education at Lincoln's Inn in London in 1923 and 1924, studying Roman and British common law After his tour in Europe, Jeffries returned to Detroit to take up law practice13 In 1929, he became general counsel for the Maccabees, a position he held until his death in 1950 In 1930, Jeffries married Florence O Bell3


Jeffries ran for Detroit City Council in 1932, and served on that body for four terms, from 1932 until 1940, serving the last two as City Council president4 While serving on the Council, Jeffries came under the influence of long-time councilman John C Lodge Jeffries was already more moderate in stance than his radical father, eager to work within the existing power structure, and Lodge, who shared a similar outlook, was a natural ally3

In 1939, Jeffries ran for mayor of Detroit against Richard Reading as an economically conservative, socially responsible reformer Reading, enmeshed in an enormous corruption scandal that eventually sent him to jail, lost the election by more than two-to-one3 He ran for election as mayor four more times, winning the next three to serve as mayor from 1940 to 19485 Jeffries bid for a fifth term was unsuccessful because of his unpopularity in the wake of the 1943 race riot, and he lost to councilman Eugene Van Antwerp3 Jeffries was elected once more to serve on the City Council, beginning in 1950, but died in office4

Edward Jeffries suffered a heart attack on March 18, 1950, while on vacation in Miami Beach, Florida23 He died shortly thereafter on April 2, 19502


  1. ^ a b c Who's Who in Detroit, 1935-36 Detroit: Walter Romig & Co 1935 p 174 OCLC 18313089 
  2. ^ a b c "Ex-Mayor Jeffries of Detroit, 49, Dies: Councilman Served as Chief Executive During the City's Troublesome War Years" The New York Times April 3, 1950 p 20 ISSN 0362-4331 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jeffries, Edward; Capeci, Dominic J 1996 Detroit and the "Good War": the World War II letters of Mayor Edward Jeffries and friends Lexington: University Press of Kentucky pp 1–42 ISBN 0-8131-1974-X 
  4. ^ a b "Detroit City Council, 1919 to present" Detroit Public Library Archived from the original on September 28, 2011 Retrieved November 11, 2010 
  5. ^ "Mayors of the City of Detroit" Detroit Public Library Archived from the original on September 28, 2011 Retrieved November 11, 2010 
Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Reading
Mayor of Detroit
January 2, 1940 – January 5, 1948
Succeeded by
Eugene Van Antwerp

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