Jane Byrne is elected mayor
Photo: John Irvine/Chicago Tribune

April 3, 1979

“Nobody saw me coming. I was like a joke,” Byrne remembered years later in a Tribune interview. The former consumer sales commissioner beat the machine-backed Michael Bilandic by attracting a curious coalition of disgruntled Republicans and progressives, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, then won the general election with 82 percent. Neither a progressive herself nor an outsider — she owed much of her early career to Daley — the city’s first female mayor nonetheless paved the way for her norm-busting successor, Harold Washington.

From the Archives

January 1980 issue
Photo: Michael Zajakowski

At the dawn of the ’80s, what better way to convey “out with the old, in with the new” than a mash-up of the late mayor Daley and the new mayor Byrne on this January 1980 cover?