Maria de Blasio

Maria de Blasio

Maria de Blasio (1917 - January 22, 2007) was the mother of Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York City (2014-present), and an author. She was the daughter of Italian immigrants. She was also the author of "The Other Italy: The Italian Resistance in World War II."

Life and Death Edit

She was born in 1917 in New York City, the daughter of Giovanni De Blasio and Anna De Blasio. She graduated from Smith College in 1938. She joined the editorial staff at Time and met her husband, Warren Wilhelm. When World War II broke out in 1939, she edited Italian-language propaganda for the Office of War Information (OWI). After the war ended in September 1945, she married Warren Wilhelm and the two started a family in Washington, DC, where Wilhelm found a job as an economist in the Bureau of the Budget. In the era during the Red Scare, her subordinates at the OWI claimed her editing suggestions were Soviet-friendly. Most damaging, the editor of the Time in 1948 charged that Maria demonstrated communist sympathies. With assistance from distinguished law, the two of them rebutted allegations and kept their jobs.

Her husband, however, left government service in 1953 when another allegation about his Yale days surfaced. He found work in the private sector, but his integrity had been impugned and his career derailed. Angry and embittered, she watched her husband descend into alcoholism, even as their youngest son, Bill de Blasio, was born in May 1961. In 1968, her husband left the home on Brewster Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a year later, she divorced him.

Absent from his children, Wilhelm suffered from inoperable lung cancer and committed suicide in July 1979. After the suicide, Maria was a single mother living in an apartment in a less genteel part of town, the first of at least three moves during de Blasio's school years. She remained a quiet author until her death in January 22, 2007

Children Edit

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