Marvin Mandel, 56th Governor of Maryland (1969-1979)

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Marvin Mandel

Birthdate: (95)
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Death: August 30, 2015 (95)
St. Mary's County, Maryland, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Harry Ellis Mandel and Rebecca Mandel
Husband of Jeanne Dorsey Mandel
Ex-husband of <private> Mandel (Oberfeld)
Father of <private> Mandel and <private> Maltz (Mandel)
Brother of Ester Potash and Harry Mandel

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Marvin Mandel, 56th Governor of Maryland (1969-1979)

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. 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, including Baltimore City College. Mandel received a bachelors degree from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1939 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 was 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 for 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 (Lee continued to serve as acting governor until January 15, 1979, when Mandel rescinded his letter appointing Lee as Acting Governor two days before the expiration of his second full elective term.) Mandel served nineteen months in the low-security federal prison camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, before having his sentence commuted by President Ronald Reagan. Based on the reasoning of an opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, a U.S. District Judge, with the persistent advocacy of his trial counsel, Arnold M. Weiner, 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.

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.

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Marvin Mandel, 56th Governor of Maryland (1969-1979)'s Timeline

April 19, 1920
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
August 30, 2015
Age 95
St. Mary's County, Maryland, United States