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Thomas Ludwig John D'Alesandro Jr. (August 1, 1903 – August 23, 1987) was an American politician who was a U.S. Representative from Maryland's 3rd congressional district (1939–47) and subsequently the mayor of Baltimore, Maryland (1947–59). He was the father of Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy D'Alesandro Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House.

Thomas D'Alesandro
Thomas D'Alesandro Jr.jpg
39th Mayor of Baltimore
In office
May 16, 1947 – May 16, 1959
Preceded byTheodore McKeldin
Succeeded byJ. Harold Grady
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1939 – May 16, 1947
Preceded byVincent Palmisano
Succeeded byEdward Garmatz
Personal details
Thomas Ludwig John D'Alesandro Jr.

(1903-08-01)August 1, 1903
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
DiedAugust 23, 1987(1987-08-23) (aged 84)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Nancy Lombardi
Children6, including Thomas and Nancy

Early lifeEdit

D'Alesandro was born in Baltimore on August 1, 1903. He was the son of Maria Petronilla (née Foppiani) and Tommaso G. D'Alesandro, who were born in Montenerodomo, Abruzzo, South Italy. D'Alesandro attended Calvert Business College in Baltimore. Before beginning his political career, he worked as an insurance and real estate broker.[1]


A Democrat, D'Alesandro served as a member of the Maryland State House of Delegates from 1926 to 1933. After serving in Annapolis, D'Alesandro was then appointed as General Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue, a post in which he served during 1933–1934. He then was elected to serve on the Baltimore City Council from 1935 to 1938.

D'Alesandro was then elected to the 76th Congress and to the four succeeding Congresses, serving from January 3, 1939, until he resigned on May 16, 1947. While in Congress, D'Alesandro strongly supported the Bergson Group, a "political action committee set up to challenge the Roosevelt Administration's policies on the Jewish refugee issue during the Holocaust, and later lobbied against British control of Palestine" despite his equally strong support for Roosevelt's other policies.[2][better source needed]

Following his service in Congress he was Mayor of Baltimore for 12 years from May 1947 to May 1959.[3] D'Alesandro served on the Federal Renegotiation Board from 1961-1969 after being appointed by President John F. Kennedy[1][4]

Political campaignsEdit

D'Alesandro was a strong contender for Governor of Maryland in 1954, but was forced to drop out due to being implicated in receiving undeclared money from Dominic Piracci, a parking garage owner convicted of fraud, conspiracy, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.[5] D'Alesandro was later exonerated and never indicted. Rather than lose the election, D'Alesandro withdrew and tacitly supported University of Maryland President Curley Byrd who would go on to lose by 54.46% to 45.54% to the Republican incumbent and D'Alesandro's predecessor as Mayor of Baltimore Theodore McKeldin. McKeldin would later defeat the man who defeated D'Alesandro for mayor and then would be succeeded as mayor by D'Alesandro's son.

In 1958, D'Alesandro ran for the United States Senate in a bid to defeat Republican incumbent J. Glenn Beall who in 1952 defeated perennial candidate/contractor George P. Mahoney. D'Alesandro had to first spend money and time dispatching the fiery Mahoney in the Democratic primary. D'Alesandro then ran a strong and close, but eventually unsuccessful campaign, against Beall. This was the first time D'Alesandro ever lost an election.[3]

In 1959, D'Alesandro was narrowly defeated in a bid for another term for Mayor of Baltimore by J. Harold Grady.[6]

Neo-Confederate criticismEdit

In 2017, Neo-Confederate and conservative commentators attempted to embarrass D'Alesandro's daughter, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, by pointing out in 1948, her father dedicated the Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee Monument along with the then-Governor of Maryland, William Preston Lane Jr., which D'Alesandro as Mayor of Baltimore did as a function of his office.[7] His son, Thomas D'Alesandro III, who later served as Mayor of Baltimore from 1967 to 1971, said about his father "His whole life was politics. He was not what you would call a flaming liberal, but he was a progressive."[3]

Personal lifeEdit

He was married to Annunciata M. ("Nancy") Lombardi.[8] Together, the couple had six children, five sons and a daughter, including.

D'Alesandro died on August 23, 1987, in Baltimore, Maryland.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "D'ALESANDRO, Thomas, Jr. | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  2. ^ Medoff, Rafael, "Pelosi's father and the Holocaust." Jerusalem Post. April 11, 2007. April 16, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c Valentine, Paul W. (August 24, 1987). "BALTIMORE POLITICAL PATRIARCH THOMAS J. D'ALESANDRO JR. DIES". Retrieved December 18, 2017 – via
  4. ^ "Federal Renegotiation Board | JFK Library". Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  5. ^ "The Little World of Tommy" ,Time. April 26, 1954.
  6. ^ "J. Harold Grady, mayor, chief judge, dies at 84". Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  7. ^ Singman, Brooke (August 24, 2017). "Nancy Pelosi's dad helped dedicate Confederate statue". The New York Post. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  8. ^ Baltimore Sun, October 1, 1928, p. 20.
  9. ^ Hirschfeld Davis, Julie. "Nancy Pelosi Elected Speaker as Democrats Take Control of House". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved January 3, 2019.

External linksEdit