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Mayor John B. Hynes collection

Identifier: 0243.001

Scope and Contents

The Mayor John B. Hynes collection contains personal papers of the former mayor collected after his time in office. The papers include personal correspondence, employment and miltary service records, and various forms of personal memorabilia including certificates, awards, diplomas, poetry and writings, photographs, newspaper clippings, and multiple scrapbooks. The scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings and articles from Hynes's early tenure as mayor in 1950 and 1951.


  • Creation: 1891-1893, 1915-1966, undated


Biographical / Historical

John Bernard Hynes was the son of Irish immigrants, born in the South End of Boston on September 22, 1897. After service in the Air Corps in World War I, he began his city employment as a Health Department clerk. He went to the Auditing Department and then as chief clerk in Mayor Curley's office. He went to law school nights and won a law degree from Suffolk University in 1927. Two years later he became assistant city clerk and after service in World War II as a lieutenant colonel, became city clerk in 1945.

John Hynes first experienced the responsibilities of mayor for five months in 1947, when, as city clerk he was designated to fill in as "temporary mayor" for Mayor James Curley who had been sentenced to a federal institution. A chance remark by Mr. Curley upon his return to City Hall set the stage for John Hynes challenging him and winning the next mayoral election in 1949. He became the forty-third mayor of Boston and served three terms: 1950-1951, 1952-1955, and 1956-1959.

Using powers of the new charter, Mayor Hynes during his tenure reduced the number of city departments from thirty-eight to twenty-six, and reorganized the Assessing, Fire, Library, Welfare, and Planning Departments. He also coordinated inspections among the Building, Fire, and Health Departments and established the Auditorium Commission and Government Center Commission to plan and erect a new City Hall. In urban renewal he inaugurated a pilot rehabilitation project in Dorchester and saw the start of the New York streets commercial renewal development, South End, and the West End residential redevelopment. As mayor, he served the longest continuous period in the office in Boston's history. As a "dean" of big city mayors, he was recognized in Washington on his trips for federal aid and as national president of the mayors' organization. He was also named the Democratic national committeeman for Massachusetts.

After leaving old City Hall, Mayor Hynes set up his law office a short distance away at 73 Tremont Street. He was shortly afterward named state Commissioner of Banks and Banking, and was elected a life trustee and treasurer of Suffolk University. He lived in Dorchester with his wife Marion and their five children: John "Jack" Jr., Richard, Barry, Marie, and Nancie. After his death in January 1970, the former mayor was given his city's tribute with the naming of the John B. Hynes Memorial Auditorium at Prudential Center.

Source: "Boston's 45 Mayors from John Phillips to Kevin H. White", City Record Office, 1979.


1.5 Cubic feet

Language of Materials


Guide to the Mayor John B. Hynes collection
Kayla Skillin
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the City of Boston Archives Repository

201 Rivermoor St.
West Roxbury MA 02132 United States
617-635-1194 (Fax)