IS THERE A "TYPICAL" BOSS?
Newspaper artists have been fond of portraying municipal bosses in much the same generalized fashion employed by many persons in viewing members of another race. Accordingly, their bosses quite frequently fit without difficulty into the same physical or mental mold. Moreover, not a few writers have conjured up a "type" which supposedly represents any one of the legion of city rulers. Thus, one describes any Brooklyn boss of forty years ago as a "bullnecked, two-fisted male of primitive power, who wore loud checks and a derby hat; smoked, and rarely removed, a portentous cigar, and invariably from the side of his mouth emitted hoarse, staccato orders."1 Within the last few years, however, several works have appeared to discount any striking similarity of bosses in physique, mentality, or in circumstance.2 William B. Munro of Harvard goes so far as to declare that "apart from courage, persistence, and a 'flair for politics' there is no one quality that all bosses possess."3
An analytical study of twenty well-known municipal overlords reveals several physical and mental characteristics as well as circumstances that seem to attend bosses more frequently than they do the rank and file of humans. But only a very few qualities or circumstances that can be attached to all of the score of bosses have presented themselves. Although every one of the twenty rulers came to the leadership after more or less long and a somewhat grilling ap____________________