Theodore McKeldin, Governor

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Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin, Sr.

Also Known As: "Teddy"
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Death: Died in Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Place of Burial: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of James Alfred McKeldin, Sr and Dora McKeldin
Husband of Honolulu Claire McKeldin
Father of <private> McKeldin; Clara McKeldin Ziegler and <private> McKeldin
Brother of George Edward Mckeldin; John McKeldin; James Alfred McKeldin Jr; Laura S McKeldin; Lillian J Nuffer and 5 others

Occupation: Politician
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Theodore McKeldin, Governor

Political Affiliation Republican

Mayor of Baltimore 1943-1947, Governor of Maryland 1951-1959, Mayor of Baltimore 1963-1967



Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin (November 20, 1900 – August 10, 1974), a member of the United States Republican Party, was the 53rd Governor of Maryland in the United States from 1951 to 1959.

Political career

McKeldin challenged the incumbent Mayor of Baltimore, Howard W. Jackson, in the election of 1939, but was defeated. In the election of 1942, McKeldin again challenged an incumbent, but this time it was the governor of Maryland, Herbert R. O'Conor. Again, McKeldin was defeated.

However, McKeldin persisted and was elected mayor of Baltimore in 1943. As mayor, he oversaw the construction of Friendship Airport (now known as the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport). However, Baltimore saw hard times during this period following the Second World War, with the inner city decaying, ghettos forming, and racial prejudice still present in government policy-making. McKeldin ran a second time for Governor in 1946, challenging William Preston Lane, Jr., but was defeated yet again.

McKeldin, for the third time, ran for governor in 1950. He was successful, defeating incumbent William Preston Lane, Jr. by the largest margin in state history up to that point. As governor, McKeldin endeavored to improve the state highway system, namely by establishing the Baltimore Beltway (now I-695), the Capital Beltway (I-495), and the John Hanson Highway (US 50 between Washington, DC and Annapolis). He was a staunch supporter of interstate cooperation, saying once: "I rode by train over several state borders. I carried no passports. No one asked me to identify myself. No one had the right to. This is America." He was also an advocate for civil rights for African Americans and was awarded the Sidney Hollander Award.

In 1952 McKeldin was a major figure in the moderate Republicans of the East Coast who were instrumental in gaining the Republican nomination for president for Dwight Eisenhower. Speaking in the stentorian tones that were common for the time, McKeldin delivered the principal nominating speech for the general at the Republican National Convention.

McKeldin retired in 1959 from the governorship and returned to his law practice in Baltimore. In 1963, he returned to public service after again being elected as mayor of Baltimore, focusing on the urban renewal of the Baltimore Inner Harbor. McKeldin served his second term as mayor until 1967. He was the last Republican to be elected mayor of Baltimore.


Theodore McKeldin was born in Baltimore, Maryland, attending Maryland public schools and later graduating from Baltimore City College. He furthered his education by earning his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1925 and with some graduate work at Johns Hopkins University. McKeldin married Honolulu Claire Manzer on October 17, 1924. They had two children, Theodore, Jr. and Clara.

He died on August 10, 1974, and is buried in Greenmount Cemetery.


McKeldin Center at Morgan State University 
McKeldin Library and McKeldin Mall at the University of Maryland, College Park 
Theodore McKeldin Gymnasium at Bowie State University 
McKeldin Building at Springfield Hospital Center
McKeldin Beltway, though still widely known as the Baltimore Beltway or Interstate 695
McKeldin Area, Patapsco Valley State Park 
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Theodore McKeldin, Governor's Timeline

November 20, 1900
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
September 26, 1939
Age 38
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
August 10, 1974
Age 73
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
August 1974
Age 73
Baltimore, Maryland, USA