Andrew James Peters

Andrew James Peters (April 3, 1872 – June 26, 1938) was an American politician who served in the United States House of Representatives and was the 42nd Mayor of Boston.

Andrew James Peters
Peters circa 1918[1]
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 11th district
In office
March 4, 1907  August 15, 1914
Preceded byJohn A. Sullivan
Succeeded byGeorge H. Tinkham
42nd Mayor of Boston
In office
February 4, 1918[2]  February 6, 1922[3]
Preceded byJames M. Curley
Succeeded byJames M. Curley
Member of the Massachusetts State Senate
In office
Personal details
BornApril 3, 1872
West Roxbury, Massachusetts
DiedJune 26, 1938(1938-06-26) (aged 66)
Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Martha Peters
Alma materHarvard Law School

Early years

Peters was born on April 3, 1872, in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. His family had been in Massachusetts since the first Andrew Peters arrived there in 1657. He attended Harvard University earning an A.B. in 1895 and a LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1898.[4]

Political career

Peters served two terms in the Massachusetts State Senate (1904, 1905). In 1906, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he would serve from 1907 to 1914.[5]

In 1914, Peters was appointed to be Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under William Gibbs McAdoo in the first administration of President Woodrow Wilson. Peters served there until 1918, when he began his term as Mayor of Boston, having defeated incumbent James Michael Curley in the 1917 mayoral election. Peters' term as mayor is remembered for his handling of the Boston Police Strike in 1919.

Peters was considered for Governor of Massachusetts later in the 1920s, but was not nominated.

Personal life

Peters' reputation suffered because of his relationship with a young relative of his wife. He had married Martha Phillips in 1910, and together they had six children. Mrs. Peters cousin, Mrs. Helen Faithfull, had a young daughter named Starr Wyman, later Starr Faithfull, who attracted Peters' attention in 1917. He began to sexually abuse the 11-year-old Starr[6] and paid money to her mother and stepfather to keep the story quiet. Starr died under mysterious circumstances on Long Island in 1931. The story came out,[7] damaging Peters' reputation, despite his denials of it.

The circumstances of Peters' relationship with Starr Faithfull eventually became part of the material used by John O'Hara in his novel BUtterfield 8. Peters also plays a key role in Dennis Lehane's novel The Given Day.

Peters died of pneumonia on June 26, 1938.[8]

See also


  1. The Municipal Register for 1918, Boston, MA: The City of Boston, 1917, p. 2
  2. "PETERS WILL BE ON HAND AT INAUGURAL". The Boston Globe. February 4, 1918. p. 3. Retrieved March 16, 2018 via
  3. "CURLEY TAKES OFFICE TODAY". The Boston Globe. February 6, 1922. p. 1. Retrieved March 16, 2018 via
  4. Harvard Law School (1900). Quinquennial Catalogue of the Law School of Harvard University, 1817-1899. Cambridge: The Law School. p. 192.
  5. "Massachusetts", Official Congressional Directory, 1907
  6. Russel, Francis. A City in Terror: Calvin Coolidge and the 1919 Boston Police Strike. p. 70.
  7. "Murder Theory Still Persists". The Advocate-Messenger. Danville, Kentucky. UP. June 17, 1931. Retrieved March 14, 2018 via
  8. "A. J. Peters, Mayor of Boston during '19 Police Strike, Dies". Chicago Tribune. AP. June 27, 1938. Retrieved March 14, 2018 via
  • Goodman, Jonathan.: The Passing of Starr Faithfull. (London: Piatkus, c. 1990) ISBN 0-86188-844-8
  • Russell, Francis.: A City in Terror, 1919: The Boston Police Strike (New York: Viking Press, c. 1975) ISBN 0-670-22449-9
  • Russell, Francis.: The Knave of Boston & Other Ambiguous Massachusetts Characters (Boston: Quinlan Press, c. 1988) (pp. 68–84: "The Mayor and the Nymphet") ISBN 0-933341-79-2
  • City of Boston Statistics Department The Municipal Register for 1918 (1918) p. 2.

Further reading