DNC 2016

Hot-dog-eating Senators, FDR and a real donkey: 10 photos from the 1936 Philadelphia DNC


The 2016 DNC won’t be Philadelphia’s first. The city hosted the Democratic National Convention in 1936 and 1948 at Convention Hall near UPenn (now the site of the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine). Billy Penn dug up a few old pictures to show what it was like back in 1936, when the Democrats nominated Franklin Roosevelt for the second of four times. Back then, these nominations at conventions were often contested and, as you’ll see below, fistfights could even break out. Photos are from the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin via Temple University Libraries.


Senator Joe Guffey, Attorney General Charles Margiotti, Secretary of Internal Affairs Thomas Logue and local Democratic leaders John Kelly and Matthew Closkey walk up Broad Street toward the convention.

DNC1936_Delegate Walk

Philadelphia donated $200K to the Democratic National Convention to sweeten the pot. That’s the equivalent of $3.4 million today.


Al Smith supporters get pissed and start a fight. Smith didn’t get the nomination. FDR did.


About 200 local college students and debutantes show off their dresses for the Convention.


Guys, they had a real Democratic donkey! And he’s trying to eat paper at the information desk.


Some dude rode this Conestoga wagon from Reading to Manayunk so he could see the Convention.


Not everyone gets excited by the DNC. Man falls asleep during Senator Joseph Robinson’s speech.


Chestnut Street gets decorated for the Convention.


Men make fun of Democratic Committee Chairman Jim Farley by dressing up as clowns.


Texas senators Earle Mayfield and Thomas Pollard eat hot dogs with local woman Beatrice Zippel.


FDR after he gets the nomination.


Want some more? Explore other DNC 2016 stories.

Celebrate awesome Philadelphians at The Billies

Billy Penn’s annual awards show and fundraiser is set for June 16 via Zoom. Live hosts, a DJ, local entertainment and the MVP, Ya Fav Trashman. You’re invited — join the celebration!