Biography of Maurice Maschke
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

MAURICE MASCHKE. As a resourceful attorney, member of one of the ablest law firms of Cleveland, the record of Maurice Maschke compares favorably with that of any member of the Cleveland bar. He practiced law in his native city over thirty years. What has made him best known in city and county and among powerful men in American politics and affairs for over a quarter of a century, has been his leadership and influence in the republican party.

He was born in Cleveland, October 16, 1868. Two years earlier, his parents, Joseph and Rose Maschke had come to Cleveland from Germany. The mother is still living. Joseph Maschke was for many years a retail grocery merchant Maurice Maschke attended the city grammar and high schools. His parents furnished their sons splendid opportunities for a liberal education. Mr. Maschke prepared for college at Philips Exeter Academy in the East, and at Harvard University studied law and political economy, graduating in 1890. He came home to study law, and in 1892 was admitted to the Ohio bar. Early in his practice he became interested in title searching, and this work brought him in daily contact with the county recorder's office. In 1896, when his parents went abroad, while their son Alfred was completing his medical education, Maurice became a title searcher for the county recorder. For many years he has been an authority on title and law, and the bulk of his practice has been in litigation regarding property.

Outside of the law and politics, some of his other interests and diversions were recently described by a writer in the Plain Dealer: "Then there is the Maurice Maschke, Harvard '90, who has radical ideas about the modern stage, which he gets direct from the classic Greek drama. This Maurice Maschke is a grower of and authority on roses. He knows his Shakespeare by heart; nay, he knows his Hauptmann and Sudermann, and Ibsen and Schnitzler by heart. Once, a partner of Carl T. Robertson of The Plain Dealer, he nearly captured the national whist championship. He knows Kant and Locke and Mill and Berkely and Hume and Nietzche and Marx, and wonders about the complex society man has evolved for himself. He can discourse by the hour on the growth of England's political system. He thinks as much of Harvard as Heywood Broun, and his innate caution cannot stop his offering odds on the worst football team Harvard ever trotted out. He plays golf doggedly; if he can't go thirty six holes without trimming his average he goes about in gloom and misery for two days."

His first practical experience in politics came in the spring of 1897, as supporter of a candidate for the office of county recorder. In the same year, he used his influence to help reeled Robert E. McKisson for mayor. He was a member of the McKisson faction in city politics, then in 1898 the fight occurred between the McKisson faction and that led by Mark Hanna. Thus, in his first years in politics, Mr. Maschke was unfriendly to the political fortunes of Senator Hanna. Later, he came to entertain a profound admiration for that Ohio business man in politics, and during the presidential campaign of 1920 he had the honor of presiding at a meeting to observe the birthday anniversary of Mark Hanna, and in introducing the late Judge Day as chief speaker, he said: "I think Mark Hanna was one of the biggest men from any point of view that this country has ever produced. He certainly did as much for the republican party as a party than any man whose name I can remember, and when we think of these times we are having now, what a pity it is he is not among us."

By 1900, Mr. Maschke had cultivated his influence so steadily that he was in absolute control of the republican party in eight wards of the city, including four wards in the downtown district, and four wards along

Woodlawn Avenue, where his own home was. After the death of Senator Hanna he supported Theodore Burton as candidate for the United States Senate, and his work was largely responsible for making Mr. Burton's qualifications known throughout Ohio, leading up to his choice for the United States Senate in 1909. It was Mr. Maschke who after a careful study of the situation brought out Hermann Baehr, former county recorder as candidate for the office of mayor, and whose election brought the first defeat to the long continued power of Tom L. Johnson as the dominant figure in Cleveland municipal politics.

In the historic split in the republican party in 1912, Mr. Maschke favored the renomination of President Taft. Though the Roosevelt supporters gained a big victory in the primaries, early in that year, Mr. Maschke controlled the county convention, and to the surprise of all, the convention instructed for Taft, and it was the slight margin of power held in Cleveland and developed by Mr. Maschke, that the four Ohio delegates at large to the Chicago Convention were instructed for Mr. Taft.

Mr. Maschke has found his satisfaction in politics through the quiet but efficient exercise of his power in a party organization He has held no important offices, and has never been a candidate. At the time of the fight just mentioned, he was collector of customs at Cleveland. Throughout his political career he has stood for party regularity and the two chief crimes are not keeping one's word, and bolting from the party.

After the disastrous republican defeat of 1912, a new man in republican politics found the favor of Mr. Maschke. This was Harry L. Davis, and Mr. Maschke introduced him in the campaign of 1913 as candidate' for mayor and in 1915 Mr. Davis was victorious. He and Mr. Maschke had a hot political partnership for six years until after the election of Judge Day as governor in 1920. Mr. Davis was elected governor in spite of the fact that his home county did not give him a majority and consequently Mr. Blaschke had no part in the Davis state administration.

When Senator Burton declined to become a candidate for reelection to the Senate in 1914, Mr. Maschke warmly espoused the suggestion that Warren G. Harding should receive the republican nomination in spite of the fact that Mr. Harding as candidate for governor in 1910 had made a very poor showing in Cuyahoga County, where the entire republican county ticket was elected. Then, in 1914, though the county returned a large democratic majority, Mr. Maschke had the satisfaction of seeing Harding lead the republican ticket by 15,000 votes. Then, in 1920, Mr. Maschke as leader of the County Republican Organization, enjoyed another triumph when Cuyahoga gave Mr. Harding 75,000 majority votes for president. He had become an active candidate for Mr. Harding for president in 1919, and fought for Harding in the pre presidential primary against the big odds, and also at the Chicago Convention.

Mr. Maschke has been a member of the County Republican Central Committee for over twenty five years, and from 1904 to 1912 was a member of the State Central Committee. He has known intimately and supported or opposed every leading citizen in Ohio of the last quarter century, including Presidents William McKinley and Warren G. Harding, United States Senators M. A. Hanna, Theodore E. Burton and Charles Dick, former governor and present ambassador to France, Myron T. Herrick, William H. Boyd, Harry L. Davis, and many others who have learned to regard Mr. Maschke as a most accomplished party leader, and one who has never tolerated disloyalty to the party ticket. His accomplishments have been due largely to alert watchfulness, and dose study of his own and other political organizations. It is said that he has frequently been better informed as to democrats, reform and independent movements than the leaders in those movements themselves.

Mr. Maschke is a member of the Cleveland Bar Association, is affiliated with the Masons, Elks, and Knights of Pythias, and belongs to a large number of social dubs and civic organizations. He married Miss Minnie Rice of Cleveland. They have two children, Helen and Maurice, Jr.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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