Fred A. Busse
Treasurer of Illinois
In office
GovernorRichard Yates Jr.
Preceded byMoses O. Williamson
Succeeded byLen Small
39th[1] Mayor of Chicago
In office
April 15, 1907 – April 17, 1911
Preceded byEdward F. Dunne
Succeeded byCarter Harrison, Jr.
Personal details
Born(1866-03-03)March 3, 1866
Chicago, Illinois
DiedJuly 9, 1914(1914-07-09) (aged 48)
Chicago, Illinois
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Josephine Lee Busse
Residence(s)Chicago, Illinois

Fred A. Busse (March 3, 1866 – July 9, 1914) was the mayor of Chicago, in the U.S. state of Illinois, from 1907 to 1911.[2]


Busse became a local Republican leader, first elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1894 and again in 1896. In 1898, Busse was elected to the Illinois State Senate. He then served as Illinois state treasurer beginning in 1902. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him Postmaster of Chicago, a political position at that time (see USPS History). He won the 1907 election for mayor against Democratic incumbent Edward F. Dunne. In business, Busse had been Secretary and Treasurer of the Northwestern Coal Company until 1905.[3][4]

Mayor of Chicago

Busse's mayoral inauguration
Busse's mayoral inauguration

Busse was elected mayor of Chicago in 1907.

Busse was sworn-in as mayor on April 15, 1907.[5]

Busse's mayoral tenure is noted for its extensive corruption and presence of organized crime in the city. Busse had connections and was a political ally with a number of organized crime figures.[6] Busse's inaction in the face of growing popular concern led to the formation of several organizations opposed to crime and desirous of cleaning up the city government.[7] Busse's image was used by at least one brothel owner to promote her business. While reform, both political and moral, was beginning to appear Chicago, Busse noted, "They don't need anyone sleuthing around after me. They can always get me any evening at J.C. Murphy's saloon, Clark Street and North Avenue."[7] By 1907, pressure was strong enough that Busse was forced to appoint a vice commission, although the commission didn't issue a report until Busse was out of office.[8]

As mayor, Busse was a strong supporter of the Plan of Chicago. He and the City Council established a 328-member Chicago Plan Commission in order to realize the plan.[6]

Busse ultimately lost his bid for reelection in 1911 to Democrat Carter Harrison Jr., and was succeeded by Harrison on April 17, 1911.[9]


Busse's grave at Graceland Cemetery
Busse's grave at Graceland Cemetery

He died on July 9, 1914 of valvular heart disease at 48 in Chicago, Illinois.[2] He was buried in Graceland Cemetery.


  1. ^ "Chicago Mayors". Chicago Public Library. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Fred A. Busse Dead. Ex-Mayor and ex-Postmaster of Chicago and Republican Leader" (PDF). The New York Times. July 9, 1914. Retrieved May 8, 2021.
  3. ^ Men of Affairs: a gallery of cartoon portraits, Chicago Evening Post, 1906; page 154.
  4. ^ Chicago Public Library-Mayor Fred A. Busse biography
  5. ^ "Mayor Fred A. Busse Inaugural Address, 1907". Chicago Public Library. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Ford, Liam T.A. Ford (2009) [2009]. Soldier Field: A Stadium and Its City (1st ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 6–7.
  7. ^ a b Abbott, Karen (2007). Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul. New York: Random House. pp. 146–147, 165–166. ISBN 978-1-4000-6530-1.
  8. ^ Merriner, James L. (2004). Grafters and Goo Goos: Corruption and Reform in Chicago, 1833-2003. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. p. 92. ISBN 0-8093-2571-3.
  9. ^ "Mayor Carter Henry Harrison IV Biography". Chicago Public Library. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
Party political offices Preceded byMoses O. Williamson Republican nominee for Illinois Treasurer 1902 Succeeded byLen Small Political offices Preceded byMoses O. Williamson Treasurer of Illinois 1903–1905 Succeeded byLen Small