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March 15, 2023


Jane Byrne was an accomplished woman who broke barriers in politics and served as Chicago’s first female mayor. She achieved a lot during her tenure, but there may be some fascinating facts about her that you have never known. In this post, we’ll explore ten of the most interesting facts about Jane Byrne that will help you gain a new perspective on her life and career.

Section 1: The Early Years

Jane Byrne was born on May 24, 1933, on Chicago’s North Side. Her father was a longtime Chicago Streets and Sanitation worker, while her mother was a homemaker. Jane grew up in a small apartment with her parents and sister. She attended St. Scholastica High School and went on to study at Barat College before transferring to the University of Chicago.

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Section 2: Her Political Career

Jane Byrne’s political career started as a volunteer for John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign. She later served as a city editor for the Chicago American and worked as a press aide for Mayor Richard J. Daley. She also served as Illinois’ consumer advocate and served in various positions in the federal government.

Section 3: Becoming Chicago’s First Female Mayor

In 1978, Jane Byrne ran for mayor and won the election, making her the first female mayor of Chicago. Her victory was considered a landmark achievement for women in politics. Byrne’s mayoral tenure was characterized by her series of initiatives, such as focusing on public housing and community development.

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Section 4: Taking on the Chicago Machine

Despite becoming the city’s mayor, Byrne won the post by being a reformist. She ultimately started running into conflicts with the Chicago political machine, and the signs of disapproval showed in the 1983 mayoral election, when she lost to Harold Washington, another reformist, who unseated the machine candidate.

Section 5: Chicago’s Celebrations and Achievements

One of Jane Byrne’s significant achievements as Chicago’s mayor was bringing Chicago Cubs baseball into the downtown area, giving it a home at the Wrigley Building. She also made it a priority to push for the idea of having various parades in Chicago, most notably the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.

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Section 6: Relocation to Virginia

After leaving Chicago’s political scene, Jane Byrne and her husband relocated to Virginia. While outside the state, she wrote several books and hosted a talk show before making her comeback to Chicago politics.

Section 7: Running for Mayor Again

In 2010, Jane Byrne attempted to get back into politics and run for mayor in the 2011 Chicago mayoral election. She was already in her late seventies at the time, but her fire to serve the people of Chicago never went away. She made several attempts to gather support, but ultimately failed to earn enough backing.

Section 8: Legacy

Jane Byrne’s achievements in politics were a great inspiration to many generations of women who wanted to enter public service. She proved that women could be just as effective as men in leadership positions, and her dedication to the city of Chicago earned her a place in history as one of the great reformists of her time.

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Q1: What made Jane Byrne run for mayor in 1978?
Ans: Jane Byrne ran for mayor in 1978 to become the first female mayor of Chicago.

Q2: Where did Jane Byrne come from?
Ans: Jane Byrne was born and raised in Chicago and spent most of her life in the city.

Q3: What were some of Jane Byrne’s initiatives during her tenure as Mayor of Chicago?
Ans: Her initiatives focused mainly on public housing and community development.

Q4: Did Jane Byrne run for mayor after 2011?
Ans: Jane Byrne did not run for mayor after 2011.

Q5: What did Jane Byrne do after leaving politics?
Ans: After leaving politics, Jane Byrne relocated to Virginia, wrote several books, and hosted a talk show.

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Q6: Did Jane Byrne have any significant accomplishments as mayor?
Ans: Jane Byrne’s significant accomplishments include relocating the Cubs downtown, incorporating Chicago’s parades, and becoming the first female mayor of Chicago.

Q7: What was Jane Byrne’s legacy?
Ans: Jane Byrne’s legacy was an inspiration for generations of women who wanted to get into public service.


Jane Byrne was an accomplished woman who served as Chicago’s first female mayor. She achieved a lot during her tenure, but many fascinating facts about her life may have escaped your knowledge. The above-listed ten facts capture her journey and show that she was a great reformist, with her legacy inspiring the generations that followed.

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