He was born on June 20, 1876. He replaced Charles Francis Murphy in 1924 as the leader of Tammany Hall. Olvany was the first Tammany Hall boss to have received a college education. A popular story used to describe Olvany was as follows: A Board of Alderman meeting in the early 1900s was interrupted by a youngster who yelled, "Alderman, your saloon is on fire!" All the other Alderman left the room. While acting as the Boss, Olvany used his law firm Olvany, Eisner and Donnelly, to direct other law firms to bring clients before the city's Board of Standards and Appeals. Olvany firm garnered up to $5 million from fees at the point when the Seabury Commission began investigating at the behest of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He resigned from Tammany Hall in 1929. He died on October 15, 1952.
- Zink, Harold B. City Bosses in the United States: A Study of Twenty Municipal Bosses (1930) pp 164-77 online
- "G.W. Olvany Dies. Tammany Leader. Ex-General Sessions Judge, 76, Held Many Positions in the City Democratic Group". New York Times. October 16, 1952. Retrieved 2015-05-20.
- "Death of Brennan". Time magazine. August 20, 1928. Archived from the original on November 21, 2010. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
George Washington Olvany, under the careful guidance of Governor Smith, has succeeded Tammany Boss Murphy. Frank Hague is in power in New Jersey.
- "New Tammany Leader". New York Times. July 16, 1924. Retrieved 2015-05-20.
Only initiates in Tammany politics need to know the reasons for the long delay in selecting Judge Olvany as Mr. Murphy's successor after Surrogate Foley's final refusal. To the public in general Judge Olvany looks the fittest man for the post. He has served a long apprenticeship in politics. He was a district leader for years.
- Allen, Oliver E. (1993). The Tiger: The Rise and Fall of Tammany Hall. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company. p. 235,239. ISBN 0-201-62463-X.
- "Olvany Out". Time magazine. March 25, 1929. Archived from the original on October 27, 2010. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
Because of ill health and on advice of physicians I resign as leader of Tammany Hall. George W. [Washington] Olvany.