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Marvin Mandel

Marvin Mandel in January 2008

In office
January 7, 1969 – January 17, 1979[1]
Preceded by Spiro T. Agnew
Succeeded by Harry R. Hughes

Born April 19, 1920 (1920-04-19) (age 89)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Barbara Oberfeld (m. 1941–1974) «start: (1941)–end+1: (1975)»"Marriage: Barbara Oberfeld to Marvin Mandel" Location: (linkback:
Jeanne Dorsey (m. 1974–2001) «start: (1974)–end+1: (2002)»"Marriage: Jeanne Dorsey to Marvin Mandel" Location: (linkback: died
Children Gary and Ellen (from Barbara)
Religion Jewish

Marvin Mandel (born April 19, 1920), a member of the United States Democratic Party, was the 56th Governor of Maryland in the United States from January 7, 1969, to January 17, 1979.[1] He was Maryland's first, and to date, only, Jewish governor.


Early life

Mandel was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and attended the Baltimore City Public Schools. He also attended Baltimore City College before receiving his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Political career

Mandel was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1952, representing Baltimore City (District 5). Mandel was chosen as speaker of the house in 1963 and served in that position until 1969, at which point he was elected Governor by the Maryland General Assembly following the resignation of Spiro Agnew. (Agnew had resigned as governor to serve as Vice President of the United States under then-President Richard Nixon.) Mandel was elected in 1970 and again in 1974.



Mandel's administration was notable for many reasons. While governor, the executive branch of the Maryland government was reorganized into twelve departments. The mass-transit system of Maryland fostered under him, enacting plans for the establishment of subways for Baltimore City and the Washington, DC suburbs. Additionally, a large public school construction initiative was undertaken while he was governor.

The negative highlight of Mandel's governorship was his conviction of mail fraud and racketeering. As a result, on June 4, 1977, Governor Mandel notified Lieutenant Governor Blair Lee III that Lee would serve as acting governor until further notice. (Lee continued to serve as acting governor until January 15, 1979, when Mandel rescinded his letter appointing Lee Acting Governor two days before the expiration of his second full elective term.) Mandel served nineteen months in prison before having his sentence commuted by President Ronald Reagan. Based on the reasoning of recent opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, a U.S. District Judge overturned Mandel's conviction in 1987. A year later, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed.

In a modern version of damnatio memoriae, Mandel’s official portrait was not hung in the Maryland State House Governor’s Reception Room until 1993.[2]

Personal life

Mandel married the former Barbara Oberfeld on June 8, 1941, and had two children, Gary and Ellen. In 1974, while governor, Mandel divorced Barbara and married the former Jeanne Blackistone Dorsey, who later died October 6, 2001.

Mandel lived briefly in Arnold, Maryland, and currently lives and practices law in Annapolis.

Present service

Mandel has been the chairman of the Governor's Commission on the Structure and Efficiency of State Government since 2003. He has also been a member of the Board of Regents for the University System of Maryland since 2003.


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
A. Gordon Boone
Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates
1964 – 1969
Succeeded by
Thomas Hunter Lowe
Preceded by
Spiro Agnew
Governor of Maryland(1)
January 7, 1969 – January 17, 1979
Succeeded by
Harry R. Hughes
Notes and references
1. Lieutenant Governor Blair Lee III executed the powers and duties of Governor from 1977–1979.


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