Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Howard W. Jackson (1877-1960)
MSA SC 3520-12487

Biography:

Born Howard Wilkinson Jackson in Stemmers Run, Baltimore County, Maryland, August 4, 1877.  Son of Andrew C. and Temperance S. (Wilkinson) Jackson.  Attended Baltimore city schools; Burnett's Business College; Baltimore Law School.  Methodist.  Married Ella M. Galloway, September 14, 1898; children William Howard (died aged 9); Ethel Virginia; Ella G.; Carle A. (born c. 1909); Harry Riall (born c. 1913).  Died August 31, 1960.  Buried at Lorraine Mausoleum, Woodlawn, Maryland.

Howard W. Jackson was a stenographer, bookkeeper, and secretary for the F. W. McAllister Optical Company from about 1897 until 1910.  In 1907 he was elected to the Baltimore City Council and served until 1909 when he was elected registrar of wills; he held that position from 1909 until 1923, serving through World War I.  Later he formed the Riall-Jackson Insurance Company with his two sons, and was its vice president and treasurer; he worked at the insurance company until his death at the age of 83.  He was also vice president of the W. A. Jackson Lumber Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the 1920s.  He was secretary of the Hippodrome Company and was a director of many firms including the Commercial Bank of Baltimore, the Southern Hotel, the Guaranty Company of Maryland, Hamilton Bank and the Horn Ice Cream Company of Baltimore.  He served as mayor of Baltimore for sixteen years, longer than any other mayor before him, from 1923 to 1927 and again from 1931 to 1943.  He was a Democrat in politics, and was a member of the Seventh Ward Democratic Club and a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Maryland in 1924 and in 1928.  He was a member of the board of Franklin Square Hospital and remained so until his death.  He was secretary of the Baltimore Symphony Association and was named its president in 1947.  He was a member of the Masons, the Elks, the Moose, and the Merchants Club.

During his long tenure as mayor of Baltimore, Jackson was credited with completing several works of internal improvements including viaducts, streets, many schools and City College. Immediately after taking office in 1923, mayor Jackson formed the Commission on Efficiency and Economy that continued long after his last day in office and eventually became a watchdog agency.  The second, third and fourth mayoral administrations took place during the Great Depression, and Jackson's policies reflected a willingness to help the needy.  He cut city salaries rather than lay off employees, and took out over 100 million dollars in loans for the city.  As a result, Baltimore emerged from the Depression with its credit rating untarnished.  In later years, however, he became outspoken in opposition to New Deal policies and broke with party ranks to support Thomas E. Dewey over Franklin D. Roosevelt for the presidency in 1944.  Known for an uncanny ability to remember names and statistics, Mayor Jackson maintained an "open door" policy at City Hall, agreeing to meet with any and all citizens who wished to see him.  He held a lifelong ambition for the governor ship that remained unfulfilled.

At his death in 1960, Mayor J. Harold Grady remarked, "History will rank him as one of Baltimore's greatest mayors, who brought the municipal government to a new level of efficiency and kept its finances on a sound basis through the most difficult years of the great depression.  Mayor Jackson's example and advice have been of great assistance to me, as they were to all his successors.  His interest in civic affairs continued long after his retirement from public office and his influence for civic betterment will be sorely missed by all who are interested in the city's welfare." ("Howard W. Jackson, Ex-Mayor, Dies At 83," The Baltimore Sun, 1 September 1960.)

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