Edward J. Flynn

Edward Joseph Flynn (September 22, 1891 in The Bronx, then New York County, now Bronx County, New York City – August 18, 1953 in Dublin, Ireland) was an American lawyer and politician. Flynn was a leading Democratic politician of the mid-twentieth-century, known for his tight control of the Bronx Democratic Party organization after 1922.

Edward Flynn
Chair of the Democratic National Committee
In office
August 17, 1940 – January 18, 1943
Preceded byJames Farley
Succeeded byFrank Walker
Secretary of State of New York
In office
January 1, 1929 – January 17, 1939
GovernorFranklin D. Roosevelt
Herbert H. Lehman
Preceded byRobert Moses
Succeeded byMichael F. Walsh
Personal details
Edward Joseph Flynn

(1891-09-22)September 22, 1891
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedAugust 18, 1953(1953-08-18) (aged 61)
Dublin, Ireland
Political partyDemocratic
EducationFordham University (LLB)


Flynn was the youngest son of Henry T. Flynn and Sarah Mallon Flynn. He graduated from Fordham Law School in 1912, was admitted to the bar in June 1913, and practiced in the Bronx. On June 15, 1927, he married Helen Margaret Jones.

He entered politics as a Democrat; and was a member of the New York State Assembly (Bronx Co., 2nd D.) in 1918, 1919, 1920 and 1921.

He was Sheriff of Bronx County, New York (1922–1925), Chamberlain of the City of New York (1926–1928), Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Bronx County Democratic Committee (1922–1953), Secretary of State of New York state (1929–1939), Democratic National Committeeman from New York (1930–1953), and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (1940–1943). He was also the United States Commissioner General on the New York World's Fair Commission (1939-1940).

He was a close associate of President Franklin D. Roosevelt for many years, and helped Roosevelt through all of his elections, but repeatedly refused offers of jobs in the Roosevelt Administration. He did accompany Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference remaining in Europe afterwards to carry out various missions for the president, until his trip was cut short by Roosevelt's death.

In 1947, Flynn published You're the Boss, a memoir of his experiences in politics.

Flynn was one of the key figures in electing Harry S. Truman to each term of his presidency. His support in 1944 was crucial to Truman's selection as the Vice Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, and thus his subsequently becoming president upon Roosevelt's death. Flynn was also one of the driving forces behind Harry S. Truman's 1948 election victory.[1]

Flynn died in 1953 while on a visit to Ireland. His papers were given by his family to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, to be available for the public.


The phrase "in like Flynn" has sometimes been claimed to be a reference to Flynn, though its folk etymology more frequently associates it with actor Errol Flynn. Etymologist Eric Partridge presents evidence that candidates Flynn backed were almost automatically "in," citing usage during Flynn's life that refers to him.[2]


  1. ^ McCullough, David (1992). Truman. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-86920-5.
  2. ^ Partridge, Eric (1986). A Dictionary of Catch Phrases. Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-05916-9

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Moses
Secretary of State of New York
Succeeded by
Michael F. Walsh
Party political offices
Preceded by
James Farley
Chair of the Democratic National Committee
Succeeded by
Frank Walker
New title Chairman of the Executive Committee of
the Bronx County Democratic Committee

1922 – 1953
Succeeded by
Charles A. Buckley