George W. Pepper

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
George Wharton Pepper
George Wharton Pepper 745bfa7049 o.jpg
United States Senator
from Pennsylvania
In office
January 9, 1922 – March 4, 1927
Preceded by Boies Penrose
Succeeded by William Vare[a]
Member of the
Republican National Committee
from Pennsylvania
In office
June 10, 1922 – May 12, 1928
Preceded by Boies Penrose
Succeeded by WW Atterbury
Personal details
Born (1867-03-16)March 16, 1867
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died May 24, 1961(1961-05-24) (aged 94)
Devon, Pennsylvania
Political party Republican
a.^ Vare was not permitted to qualify for the seat, though his defeat of Pepper in the primary election was recognized by the Senate. However, due to alleged election fraud, Vare was never seated, and a special election was held in 1930, which was won by Republican James Davis.

George Wharton Pepper (March 16, 1867 – May 24, 1961) was an American lawyer, law professor, and Republican politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He represented Pennsylvania in the United States Senate and founded the law firm of Pepper Hamilton.


Pepper was born to upper-class parents descended from colonial-era Pennsylvania Dutch Quakers, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1887 as a member of the Zeta Psi fraternity, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1889. Though his parents were Quakers he later joined the Episcopal Church. He was admitted to the bar in 1889. From 1892 to 1895, he edited and published the University of Pennsylvania Law Review (then called the American Law Register and Review) with his friend, William Draper Lewis. In the early 1900s, a court appointed Pepper receiver for the Bay State Gas Company, a bankrupt Massachusetts utility. Pepper then sued a number of nationally-known businessmen, including William Rockefeller, Henry Rogers, and Thomas Lawson, for enriching themselves at the expense of the utility.[1] In 1907 Wharton gave the major address at the annual convention of the Episcopal Church, celebrating 300 years of English Christianity in America.[2] He found it difficult to stay "neutral in thought" during the first world war, Peppers would later state "I began as a violent partisan of the Allies".[3]

Senator George Wharton Pepper (PA) enjoyed a game of baseball with the Senate pages in the 1920s.

He was appointed to the United States Senate by Governor William Sproul in 1922, following the death of Senator Boies Penrose. Pepper also succeeded Penrose as Pennsylvania's Republican National Committeeman later that year.[4][5] He won the special election held that fall, and served until he was defeated for renomination by William Vare in 1926. The Senate would subsequently refuse to seat Vare over allegations of fraud concerning the 1926 primary and general elections.

During the public debate over the expansion of advertising in the 1920s, Senator Pepper argued for a "nationwide code of regulation," described in a 1929 speech to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. He pointed out that in preserving natural beauty, no national economic benefit was lost—-real estate values would increase without the addition of billboards. Pepper voiced what was then the general public fear: that if billboards became mainstream, advertising would become too obtrusive.[6]

Pepper prevailed upon President Calvin Coolidge’s to name fellow Pennsylvanian Owen Josephus Roberts special counsel to investigate the Teapot Dome scandal of Warren G. Harding's administration.[7]

Pepper was briefly the oldest living (former) senator.[8] He is buried at St. David's Episcopal Church, Wayne, Pennsylvania.[9]


  1. ^ Pepper, George Wharton. Philadelphia Lawyer: an Autobiography. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1944.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Becoming Old Stock: The Paradox of German-American Identity By Russell Andrew Kazal page 153
  4. ^ "Pinchot Hits Assessment of Office Holders". The Reading Eagle. June 11, 1922. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Pepper Refuses Place As Contest Chairman". The Baltimore Sun. June 1, 1928. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  6. ^ Ibid.
  7. ^ Ibid.
  8. ^ Ibid.
  9. ^ Political Graveyard.


  • Pepper, George Wharton. Philadelphia Lawyer: an Autobiography. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1944.

External links[edit]

United States Senate
Preceded by
Boies Penrose
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Pennsylvania
Served alongside: William Crow, David Reed
Succeeded by
William Vare1
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Joe Grundy
Oldest living U.S. Senator
March 3, 1961–May 24, 1961
Succeeded by
Theodore Green
Party political offices
Preceded by
Boies Penrose
Member of the Republican National Committee from Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
WW Atterbury
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
(Class 3)

Succeeded by
William Vare
Notes and references
1. As Senator-elect. James Davis was the next person elected and sworn-into seat.