City Bosses in the United States: A Study of Twenty Municipal Bosses

By Harold B. Zink | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
"THE MYSTERY MAN OF CHICAGO"

If any political boss controverts the theory of the "typical boss," it is Frederick Lundin, variously known as the "Silent Boss," "Poor Swede," and "Congressman." In racial stock, physique, mental traits, and political career Lundin differs from the big-faced, heavy-weight, Irish boss who, beginning with a gang of toughs, branches out into the tumble of ward politics and through sheer might and main clambers to the top.

It happens that Mr. Lundin is the only representative from Sweden or of Swedish racial stock among the bosses with which this study deals. Born in Sweden on May 18, 1868, he emigrated with his parents, the Frederick Lundins, Senior, to the United States and arrived finally in Minneapolis at the age of eleven years. Within a few months he moved from Minneapolis to Chicago where he lived and worked until prosperity led to an establishment at Lake Villa.1

The Lundin family, which included a daughter and at least two sons in addition to Frederick, enjoyed slight material prosperity. Hence Fred went to work as a newsboy and shoe-shine two days after arriving in Chicago. He had attended school for about two years in his native land but knew practically nothing of the English language. However, in spite of the fact that he received no further schooling in the United States, he possessed an agile mind and soon learned those things necessary to a Chicago paper boy.2

After a few months of selling papers and shining shoes Fred found a job which lasted for six years with the clothing

____________________
1
See the Congressional Directory, 61 Cong., 3 sess., ( 2nd. ed., Washington, 1911), p. 22; New York Times, January 30, 1923, 21:1; and Chicago Tribune, May 31, 1921, 5:1-6, and July 10, 1923, 1:7.
2
Available through the courtesy of Assistant State's Attorney A. Kelly.

-275-

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