DAVID LEO LAWRENCE was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended Catholic schools and a two-year commercial school and began working at the age of fourteen as an aide to Pittsburgh’s Democratic Party leader. He was also a page for Woodrow Wilson at the 1912 Democratic National Convention. During World War I his enlistment assignment was with the office of the Judge Advocate General in Washington, D.C. He was also a member of the Pittsburgh Registration Commission from 1914 to 1924 and Collector of Internal Revenue for the Western District of Pennsylvania from 1933 until 1934, when he took over as Chairman of the Democratic State Committee. From 1935 to 1939 he served as Secretary of the Commonwealth under Governor George Earle. He was elected Mayor of Pittsburgh in 1945 and won reelection four times, serving until he won the governorship. Inheriting a deficit as governor, he raised the sales tax. Otherwise, he relied heavily on the programs of his gubernatorial predecessor and kept nearly all of the former governor’s cabinet members and other high-ranking civil servants. Lawrence supported building programs and projects to improve preservation of state historical information. After leaving office, he returned to his business interests.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Who Was Who in America, Vol. IV. Chicago: Marquis Who’s Who, Inc., 1968.
State Archives Holdings: MG-191 David L. Lawrence Papers