How to Address a Former Mayor of a U.S. City

How to Address a Former Mayor of a U.S. City

—-Envelope or address block on letter or email:
——–The Honorable
—-—-(Full name)

————-Or – it’s a bit less formal all on one line:
—————–The Honorable (Full name)

—-Letter salutation:
—-—-Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms./etc. (surname):

—-—-Mr./Mrs./Ms./etc. (surname):
(Use whatever honorific to which the person was entitled to before serving as mayor.)
Only a current mayor is formally addressed as “Mayor (Name)”


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

Is a Former Mayor Addressed as Mayor (Name)?

I am addressing an invitation to a former mayor. How do I correctly do that??
—–– Karen Szczpanski   How to Address the Mayor of a US City

Hi Karen:
Address a former mayor on the envelope or address block of a letter with this form:
—–—–The Honorable (Full name)

On the salutation, in conversation, or if your invitation has an inside envelope use this:
—–—–Mr./Mrs./Dr./etc. (Surname)

Sometimes you will see or hear former mayors addressed as Mayor (name) but it is not correct,  Address a former mayor as Mr./Ms./Dr./etc. – whatever honorific they had before becoming (Mayor) (Name).

The reason? In a city there is only one mayor at a time. It’s not respectful to the current office holder, and is potentially confusing to be addressing more than one person as Mayor (Name).

Being addressed as Mayor (Name) is a courtesy of the office and is reserved for the current office holder. I know, I know, I know, you hear former mayors addressed in the media or referred to as Mayor (Name), but addressing a former mayor as Mayor (Name) is simply a reporter flattering the former official’s ego, or the former official seeking to continue to enjoy the courtesies due his or her former lofty post.

[This contrasts with officials of which there is more than one office holder at a time — e.g, there are many judges, ambassadors, generals, admirals, professors, senators etc. at a time — and these former office holders DO use their (Special Honorific)+(Name) in every situation for the rest of their lives.]

— Robert Hickey How to Address the Mayor of a US City


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”