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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BREITENSTEIN, JOSEPH C. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BREITENSTEIN, JOSEPH C. (30 July 1884-19 Aug. 1974), attorney, served as special assistant U.S District Attorney (15 Nov. 1922-15 Mar. 1923) and was a leader in the the CUYAHOGA COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY and the Ohio Democratic party. As assistant district attorney, he handled U.S. v. Eugene Debs, among other cases. Breitenstein was born in Canton, OH, to Louis and Mary Shane Breitenstein; his first job was news reporter for the Canton Repository. He graduated from St. Francis Solanius' College, Quincy, IL (1910), and Georgetown University Law School (1914). Breitenstein was secretary to U.S. Senator ATLEE POMERENE† (1911-15), secretary of the Ohio Democratic Party executive committee (1916), and chief assistant U.S. District Attorney (May 1915--November 1922) for the Northern District of Ohio. While maintaining a LAW practice in Cleveland (Wertz & Breitenstein), he presided over the local Georgetown University alumni association and the Cuyahoga Club (1929-30), a group of young Democrats working to oust W. BURR GONGWER† and NEWTON D. BAKER† as party heads. In 1934 Breitenstein ran unsuccessfully for Congress from the 20th district, against incumbent MARTIN L. SWEENEY†. The next year Ohio governor Martin Davey named him special counsel to investigate the fees paid to bank and building and loan liquidators and their attorneys.

In 1931 Breitenstein married Zita Marie Clarke; the couple had no children. He is buried in Cleveland's Holy Cross Cemetery.


Last Modified: 14 Jul 1997 03:46:48 PM

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