Asa P. French

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Asa P. French
United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts
In office
Preceded by Melvin O. Adams
Succeeded by George Weston Anderson
Personal details
Born (1860-01-29)January 29, 1860[1]
Braintree, Massachusetts
United States
Died September 17, 1935(1935-09-17) (aged 75)[1]
Wellesley, Massachusetts
United States
Resting place Central Cemetery, Randolph, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Elisabeth Ambrose Wales
Residence Randolph, Massachusetts[2]
Alma mater Yale University[2]
Occupation Attorney

Asa Palmer French (January 29, 1860 - September 17, 1935)[3][4] was an American attorney who served as the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts from 1906 to 1914.[1]

French was born on January 29, 1860. His father was a Commissioner of the Court of Alabama Claims. In 1882 French graduated from Yale University, where he served on the tenth editorial board of The Yale Record[5] and was a member of Skull and Bones.[3] He subsequently studied law at Boston University.[2]

In 1896 he came to prominence as court appointed junior counsel for Thomas M. Bram, who was tried (and ultimately convicted, then pardoned) for a triple axe murder committed on the high seas.[4]

From 1901 to 1906 French was the District Attorney for the Southeastern District of Massachusetts.[2] In 1905 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for Massachusetts Attorney General.[6] In 1906 he was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to serve as the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. He was re-appointed by President William Howard Taft in 1910 and remained U.S. Attorney until 1 November 1914 when he resigned to enter private practice.[2]

In 1916 he testified before the United States Senate during the confirmation hearings of United States Supreme Court nominee Louis Brandeis. Of Brandeis, French said: "Mr. Brandeis has, in my experience, the reputation of being a man of integrity, a man of honor, a man who is conscientiously striving for what he believes to be right".[2]

In 1920 he was a counsel for the complainants in a $150,000,000 suit against William Rockefeller and other former directors of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. He split a fee of more than $800,000 with four other lawyers.[4]

French died on November 17, 1935.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "French, Asa Palmer". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Nomination of Louis D. Brandeis: hearings before the subcommittee of the Committee on the judiciary, United States Senate, sixty-fourth Congress, first session, on the nominationof Louis D. Brandeis to be an associate justice of the Supreme court of the United States. 1916. pp. 769–770. 
  3. ^ a b Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University Deceased during the Year 1935-1936, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1935/6, pp. 23–4  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ a b c "Asa Palmer French, Leader of Bar, Dies", The New York Times (New York, New York), 18 September 1935 
  5. ^ "Record Editors". The Yale Banner. New Haven: Thomas Penney and G. D. Pettee. 1877. p. 182.
  6. ^ Speech of Dist. Atty. Asa P. French: candidate for the Republican nomination for attorney general, at the summer outing of the Norfolk Club, Hotel Pemberton, Hull, 15 July 1905. 1905.