Charles Evans Hughes (left foreground), Theodore Roosevelt, and Henry Morgenthau (bow tie) endorse John P. Mitchel (light suit), 1 October 1917

New York City mayor John Purroy Mitchel lost the Republican primary to William M. Bennett in his re-election bid in 1917. Unbowed, Mitchel decided to run as an independent. He had some strong supporters in his corner. Theodore Roosevelt, former Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes, and Henry Morgenthau among others turned out at City Hall Park on 1 October 1917 to “nominate” the incumbent in what they were calling a “popular convention.” Ten thousand people turned out that Monday to see the speakers, which turned out to be something of a detriment to Mitchel; some observers noted that many in the crowd were there more to see Colonel Roosevelt than the mayor. In his own address to the crowd Mayor Mitchel vowed that he would “make the fight one against Hearst, Hylan, and the Hohenzollerns. I will make the fight against Murphy, Cohalan, and O’Leary.” Mitchel’s quote was a reference to John Francis Hylan, the Tammany-backed Brooklyn Democrat supported by William Randolph Hearst and his newspapers.

Mitchel, Hughes (behind Mitchel) Roosevelt, and former U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in the Wilson Administration Henry Morgenthau, City Hall Park, 1 October 1917

The 1917 mayoral election would turn out to be a bruising four-way campaign between the Mitchel, Hylan, Republican William M. Bennett, and Socialist Morris Hillquit. The race was a microcosm of America itself in Fall 1917. Over the course of the next five weeks the four mayoral candidates would argue the themes that Americans were hashing out around the country. That very day of the Treasury Secretary (and Wilson son-in-law) William G. McAdoo announced the opening of the second Liberty Loan Drive that would eventually raise nearly $4 billion. For the bond drive there was a big parade in Manhattan. Against American involvement in the war, Hillquit came out against the drive. The race was on until the election in early November.

(images/Doris A. and Lawrence H. Budner Collection on Theodore Roosevelt, SMU Central University Libraries)