“Ed” Monahan Wades Into New Job With Both Feet On Ground


Norwood—meet your sixth full-time General Manager, Edward C. Monahan, who took his official seat in the Memorial Municipal Building Monday morning at 10 o’clock. Last Thursday this reporter interviewed Mr. Monahan in his big, comfortable, oak-shaded home which he owns at 163 Beech street, Roslindale This introduction must serve for the warm and genial handclasp which he would like to give every citizen of the town he has come to serve. Because he is that kind of a man. Also, because he is already a Norwood enthusiast.

When we asked him the stock: question, “How do you like Norwood?” and expected the stock answer, “Well. of course l haven’t had much chance to get acquainted,” he gave a most surprising answer He got up from his chair, went up to his study on the next floor and came back with his arms full of a pile of letters and telegrams which was fully ten inches in height. “All of these, and I don’t know how many telephone messages from friends and business acquaintances, say, in one way or another. “The people of Norwood do not realize what a swell town Norwood is! Then they praise the town to the skies, it was truly amazing. But I check with every word of it. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I certainly am not going to Norwood to liquidate that feeling towards the town!”

NEW TYPE OF MANAGER Ed Monahan is a brand new type of General Manager to Norwood. Reading that “Ed Monahan,” the reader may think your correspondent is getting pretty familiar on short acquaintance. But the reader is going to find Ed Monahan is the sort of man from which the “Mister” and cold formality quickly sloughs off. It seems fair to predict that in a month Norwood folks are going to know him as “Ed Monahan,” a friendly, conscientious, hard-working fellow with a brilliant student’s mind, with a keen banker’s intelligence now sharpened to a razor-edge from war-time service with the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, in which he rose to one of the highest and most responsible positions. The largest loan which he personally negotiated was for eight million dollars. Ed Monahan and Ed Sullivan should make a profitable team for Norwood, plus its Finance Commission.

Ed Monahan was born with a tin spoon in his mouth, his family on both sides being the solid, honest old-line Irish stock which has done so much to build, literally, the New England of today. In him, labor will find a sympathetic friend who will be firm but fair He has worked with his hands and his head ever since he was a lad in St. Frances do Salle’s grammar school in Charlestown. The family needed the money. His history, below, will show this phase of his character.


In speaking of labor, he remarked. “When my father was a conductor, both freight and passenger, on the Midland Division of the New Haven, which runs through Norwood, I was a boy in whose mind some things seemed to stick. One of them was my father’s feelings when he would get a day’s pay for the run to East Hartford. Then, because of some mismanagement, he would have 19 bring that train back to Boston. For that, he would get fifty cents! In Norwood, I intend to see to it that a man’s work is so laid out that he can always get a day’s pay for it. With that background, how can I be other than fair and reasonable to all just demands of labor?”

The merchants will have as their General Manager a man who owned a hat store in Hyde Park for five years and knows all the headaches. As a securities expert, Ed Monahan is familiar with the merchant’s financial worries also.

The industrialists of Norwood, for the first time, will have a General Manager who, for five years from his desk with the RFC, has been far behind the financial scenes of some of the largest corporations in New England and in many cases, beyond her borders. He has cooperated with and talks the language of New England manufacturing in the most trying4 period of its history. As he says, “the RFC was a Business Doctor and I have sat in on many and many cases which were grave and, without the RFC, would have been hopeless. We saved them.’


The rank and file of Norwood’s home owners are going to enjoy the help and advice of a homeowner who knows all the angles and annoyances. Right now, he is licked by the water drainage down the high, terraced bank in front of his house. The soil is going down the gutters. “But,” says Ed Monahan, “my neighbors and I are ganging up this Spring on it and I think we will solve it.” Taxes? Yes, Mr. Monahan is a tax expert.

Related:  This Day in Norwood History-January 5, 1940-Lewis' Well On Its Way To Completion

One Norwood group Ed Monahan is already especially interested in — the veterans of World War II. He couldn’t make the grade in the first and the late unpleasantness because he was too young for the first and too old for the last. What he can do for the Gis iè suggested in the following: Mr. Monahan set up the complete procedure for processing the applications of veterans and banks for business loans in New England. Ed Monahan has the contacts. He says that as far as he is concerned he is going to see that every local serviceman who needs help to set up in business is going to get it. He also has one son now discharged from the service and another who Is serving as a PFC.

Summing up his mental approach to town and city government in general he made this statement: “I have always been an idealist as to what the objects of good government should be, although I have viewed them with a practical approach. And among these lines, for myself and friends, I have made surveys of all plans such as Plan E in Cambridge, the city government of Cincinnati and that of other places which have adopted what seems to be good government.’’ Reading all types of business and legislative literature is Ed Monahan’s pet hobby. He makes surveys as a home avocation.

Ed Monahan has a tremendously high respect for the reconstruction Finance Corporation. He believes that it should not be abolished. “I shall always be proud.” he remarked. “to have been actively a part of a government corporation which, while operating with marginal business firms, at minimum interest rates and with the highest paid personnel in the government service, still made a profit of 500 million dollars for the people of the United States.” He showed us a copy of David Lawrence’s U S. News to prove his statement.


What sort of a man is Ed Monahan? What are his home and business backgrounds? Both are as clean as a hound’s tooth. From a two-hour talk with him I believe he is and always has been a straight shooter with the moral ethics of a sound athlete and sportsman. It was not for nothing in his ethical education that he played center on the famous all-scholastic football team of the Boston High School of Commerce which is the tyily Boston high school which has ever won the State Championship. When we sat down to talk the first thing he said was. Whatever I tell you will be no news to the Norwood Board of Selectmen. They have already heard it from me.”

At this point the reporter thought it a good time to ask the $G4 question. “Did the question come up as to what your duties as General Manager would be? Are you going to have a show down as to your exact duties according to the Charter?”

“Yes.” said General Manager Monahan, “we went into that. As far as the duties and authority of the General Manager of Norwood are concerned, my ignorance at this moment is profound. I intend to ask for a complete clarification of what my duties are by as good legal opinion as it is possible to obtain. There will then be no reason to doubt that I will do my full duty. There will never be any question as to who. is General Manager, whether I hold this job three months or thirty years.” As Ed Monahan made this statement, his bull-dog jaw. football-center shoulders and resolute grey eyes came vividly into the picture.

“So that is about the way you placed it before the Selectmen,” asked the reporter.

“Yes. sir, exactly that way” answered the General Manager which seemed to cover the $64 quiz.

Ed Monahan is just short of being 46 years of age. having been born in Charlestown, Mass., on May 23, 1901 the son of John F. Monahan and Catherine Agnes McNulty Monahan. His medium-high stocky body weighs 205 pounds,- with a wide, friendly face and greying hair. His movements are quicksand decisive, like a man who knows where he is going: Aside from work, his chief avocations seem to be playing bridge and an armchair or grandstand interest in ahtletics.


As you might imagine from the above description of big Ed Monahan, he was married on June 16, 1936 to a pretty, dainty little Dresden china wife whose maiden name was Theresa K. Dooley, in Hyde Park, which was her native town. She says her No. 1 hobby Is her home and six sons and daughters. But she has been far from a complete homebody. She is past president of the Mozart Mothers’ Club of West Roxbury. member of the West Roxbury Women’s Catholic Club, member of Court James F. Stanton, C. D. A., Hyde Park, and a member of the Parkway Women’s Club.

Related:  Roll Land Champions-This Day In Norwood History-November 2, 1961

The Monahan children are Edward C., aged 20, veteran of World War II, who plans to enter Boston College in the fall; Pic. John F., aged 18. now serving In the United States Army; Marjorie T., aged 16. a senior in St. Patrick’s High School, Roxbury, vice-president of her class of 1947 and former prefect of the Junior Sodality of the Holy Name Church, West Roxbury. She hopes to go to Emmanuel College. Richard J., aged 13, in the freshman class of Boston English high school. Richard is thrilled at his father’s new job in Norwood, the dream of his life being the possibility of moving to this town and playing hockey on the N. 11 S. team — truly n worthy ambition. The capstone of this interesting group of wide-awake kids are the twins, Robert AT. and Janie, now nine years old and pupils in the fourth grade of the Mozart School, West Roxbury.

Our new General Manager tells me that his grandfather lived in Jersey City, where the family name was spelled Monaghan. Later, when the family moved to Vermont, the spelling was changed to “Monahan,” probably to make it easier for the farmers. His father. John F. Monahan, started life as a farm boy, went down to Boston and became a horse-car driver and then a railroad brakeman on the old New England R. R. Midland Division, now Norwood’s New Haven branch.

Ed Monahan had an uncle Jean Monahan, a N. E. R. R. man, who married a Norwood girl named Gibson while his aunt Celia wed Jack Gibson, who was also a member of the Gibson family. “Norwood,” says Ed Monahan, “seems to be a magnet for the Monahans.” John Monahan. Ed’s father, finally became a freight and passenger conductor on the Midland, running from Boston to East Hartford. His nickname was “Johnnie-Grab-’em-All.” This came from his skill in collecting freight cars. They used to say “He robbed all the side-tracks and doubled up on the hills.” In the Taft administration, Mr. Monahan was promoted to a passenger run and had the honor of carrying President Taft through Norwood

Ed Monahan graduated from St. Francis de Salle school in 1915. He says his most lively recollections are of studying hard in school, doing odd jobs outside of it and his grandfather’s election days. The old gentleman always dressed up In his best suit and cane, called election headquarters and demanded that a hack be sent to take him to the polls. For years it always did.

Ed’s next school was the High School of Commerce. It was new then with a new policy in education — commercial training. It was also drilled into the boys to begin to plan their future business. The faculty was top-hole with the distinguished James E. Downey, Ph.D., Amherst ’97, as headmaster. The result of this training is seen in some of Ed Monahan’s classmates. They were former Massachusetts Governor Maurice Tobin, Louis J. Holtman, former chairman of the Mass. Racing Commission and officer of the John C. Paige Insurance Company, Stephen J. Mugar, head of the Star Markets in Newton, Wellesley and other communities.


Most of the boys graduated as experts in something. Ed Monahan always got “A” marks and shone as a linguist and accountant. Spanish was his dish. Prof. E. Berge-Soler, head of the Spanish department promised to put him in an extra special job with the Diamond Shoe Company of Brockton, to train in New York as a Spanish correspondent and later to go to South America for the firm. But that dream exploded through no fault of Ed’s.

While in high school it was the policy to make the boys work in various Boston concerns as a part of their training. So Ed spent one vacation as a bundle boy in Gilchrist’s, another in the delivery room-of Jordan Marsh, in the credit department of Shepherd & Norwell’s, selling men’s hats for Kauffman’s, ladies-shoes at Hovey’s, and as a lathe apprentice in the S. A. Woods Company making the bases of three-inch shells for World War I. But the most spectacular job in this period was his work as one of the original Fuller Brush men in the Boston area. If our new General Manager comes to call on you, it’s a gone goose that he will get in.

The brightest spot in Ed Monaghan’s school days was his position as all-scholastic center on the 1918 eleven of Commercial High which was the only Boston high school eleven ever to win the State championship. Among his teammates and friends was the great and legendary Tommy Ring, a 195- pound fullback who is still rated as the best player who ever sparked a Boston high school football eleven. Were he playing today, says Mr. Monahan, he would have given some college an immortal athlete. According to Cleo O’Donnald, Monahan was not far behind Tommy and went as far as to call him the best player on the field in the championship game with Medford High School. Ring could do the 100-yard dash in 10 2/5 in a football suit. In an interview, Skip Sherlock said that in the 1918 Commerce team, Ring and Monahan would always be his “all-time” players. So future Norwood High teams will be under the eyes of the Great.

Related:  This Day In Norwood History-March 28

Ed Monahan was all set to go to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. But a domestic financial situation came along and he decided to end his brilliant school days and go into business. It turned out to be the F A. Hines investment house. Here he was bookkeeper, delivered “stock, was correspondent and at the age of 22 years, was made assistant floor broker He joined the Boston Curb Market in 1924 and Jäter the Boston Stock Market in 1928. In the former year he and Ralph A. Gallagher of Franklin had a chance to take over the Hines accounts, the business being a broker’s brokerage house. Gallagher studied law on the side while he was Monahan’s partner and is today holding the important post of County judge at Damariscotta, Maine. This firm became one of the best traders on the Exchange. During this period Ed Monahan owned, for five years, a hat store in Hyde Park trading under the style of “Monahan’s.

All this experience led Ed Monahan into the paths of financial analysis of big and important business. Ho made a complete survey of the Boston Exchange which led to many important changes. It is significant that Ed was elected chairman of the Exchange committee which named the Governors of the Exchange. There were 150 members in the Exchange at that time and Monahan was chosen for the delicate job of heading the group which picked the bosses. He was also a member of the committee of Stock List which checked and analyzed all stocks listed on the Exchange.

In 1937, his partner having left for the Maine judgeship, Ed Monahan formed his own company as E. O. Monahan. But soon the security business gradually became a business of Big Business and the combinations which began to form. So our General Manager in April, 1942, joined the New England Division of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation as loan examiner. In three years he was made Chief Examiner of the Division, lie also did all the speaking at banker’s conventions, els. for the New England RFC. He was and still is in close, personal contact with a host of banking, business and government executives all over the Eastern Seaboard.


In his new position with this town he has a pretty clear-cut idea of how he hopes to handle a lot of controversial problems, such as contracts and engineering. It will be with the super-careful banker’s approach. The door will not be locked after the horse is stolen The unexpected contingencies insofar as humanly possible will be nailed before the act of construction. They will not pop up in such totals that the tail will wag the dog. “Gentlemen’s agreements” are out. All this.” he feels, “can be eliminated by intelligent surveys in the beginning.”

Already, before he took his official position today, our Manager has already been in conference with the War Assets Adminsitration in regard to the Bendix Aviation plant. He has told them that it must be sold at once. And that in the sale, the future interests of Norwood must be safeguarded as to the type of business which goes into the plant. He has stipulated that representatives of the Nor- ¡ wood Board of Selectmen must be present at the sale. He also realizes it is of paramount importance to attract new industries to Norwood and he will use every possible effort to do this in the near future, cooperating with the Chamber of Commerce and all other civic minded organizations and individuals sincerely interested in Norwood’s future.

Mr. Monahan concluded the interview on the note: “I sincerely 1 hope and trust that I will do a job as General Manager that will warrant the confidence and support of the community.”