Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd’s Desk and Chair

Date: 1940s
Maker: Unknown
Materials: Metal, paint
Credit: Albany Institute of History & Art
Accession Number: 1983.47.21 and 1983.47.20

This desk and chair belonged to the longest serving mayor in the United States, Erastus Corning 2nd. In office from 1942 to 1983, Corning served forty-two years as Mayor of Albany. Corning was born on October 7, 1909, into a politically active and wealthy family. His father served as Lieutenant Governor of New York, and his great-grandfather, Erastus Corning, was mayor of Albany from 1834 to 1837. Corning 2nd was educated at the Albany Academy and later at Yale University. He got his start in politics in the New York State Assembly, rising to the position of New York State Senator in 1937. He held this position until his first campaign for mayor in 1941.

 On January 1, 1942, Corning took the office of mayor after a landslide victory over Republican Candidate, Benjamin R. Hoff. Corning served as mayor until he was drafted as a private in the United States Army in 1944. Until his return to office in 1945, Frank Salisbury Harris served as acting mayor. After his military service, Corning ran and won consecutive terms. In 1983, Corning passed away in office due to heart failure at the age of seventy-three. Today, Corning tower in the Empire State Plaza is dedicated to his life of public service.