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Joseph S. Clark: Wikis


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Joseph S. Clark

In office
January 3, 1957–January 3, 1969
Preceded by James H. Duff
Succeeded by Richard Schweiker

In office
Preceded by Bernard Samuel
Succeeded by Richardson Dilworth

Born October 21, 1901(1901-10-21)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died January 12, 1990 (aged 88)
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Religion Unitarian Universalist

Joseph Sill Clark, Jr. (October 21, 1901 – January 12, 1990) was a U.S. lawyer and Democratic Party politician in the mid-20th century. He served as the mayor of Philadelphia from 1952 until 1956, and as a United States Senator from Pennsylvania from 1957 until 1969. Clark was the only Unitarian Universalist elected to a major Pennsylvania office in the modern era.

Clark was a native of Philadelphia. After graduating from Middlesex School, he received his bachelor's degree magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1923 and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a member of St. Anthony Hall, in 1926. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society.

Clark began his career as a lawyer when, in 1941, he was called up to military service for World War II, rising to colonel in the United States Army Air Forces before mustering out in 1945. He won the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, and an honorary OBE for his wartime service in the China-Burma-India theater.

After the war, Clark became involved in Philadelphia city politics as a reform Democrat. Running against a long-entrenched and openly corrupt Republican machine, he won the city controller position in 1949, then moving up to mayor three years later. His Administration was distinguished by a new Home Rule Charter, and by a newly-active Philadelphia City Planning Commission, led after 1949 by Edmund N. Bacon. On the strength of his mayoral record, he won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1956, and went on to beat incumbent James H. Duff in the general election. Clark was succeeded by his reform colleague H. Richardson Dilworth.

Clark won re-election to the Senate in 1962. Clark's relatively liberal record, including opposition to the Vietnam War, and support for gun control after the assassinations of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., caused his defeat in the 1968 senatorial election to Republican Richard Schweiker, whose career in the Senate was as a liberal Republican.

After his defeat, Clark became president of World federalists USA until 1971. He lived the rest of his life in Philadelphia, dying at age 88 on January 12, 1990.


  • The Senate Establishment (1963)
  • Congress: The Sapless Branch (1964)


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Bernard Samuel
Mayor of Philadelphia
Succeeded by
Richardson Dilworth
United States Senate
Preceded by
James H. Duff
United States Senator (Class 3) from Pennsylvania
Served alongside: Edward Martin, Hugh Scott
Succeeded by
Richard Schweiker
Party political offices
Preceded by
Francis Myers
Democratic for United States Senator (Class 3) from Pennsylvania
1956, 1962, 1968
Succeeded by
Peter Flaherty


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