Sharswood was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania in 1828. On September 5, 1831 he was admitted to the bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
He served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1837. He was a district judge in Pennsylvania from 1845 to 1867. In 1850 he reorganized the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He was senior professor of law there until 1867, when he resigned his chair. During his tenure he was a respected author, editor and commentator. In 1859, then Professor George Sharswood published through Childs and Peterson in Philadelphia a two volume edition of Blackstone's Commentaries which weeded and gleaned the notes and commentaries of the prior English editors and added a treasure trove of new notes and observations on the application or divergence of the various sections of the Commentaries in America from the founding of the country to the Civil War, collecting American cases and references to Kent's Commentaries to illustrate his observations. This effort continued in subsequent editions after he became an Associate Justice at least through the publication of an 1872 edition by Lippincott & Co. in 1872. He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1868, and was named chief justice in 1879.
- "Review: Blackstone's Commentaries (Sharswood Ed. 1859)". 90 (187). The North American Review. April 1860: 550–552. JSTOR 25107628.
- Sharswood, Associate Justice George (1872). Blackstone's Commentaries. Philadelphia: Lippincott & Co.
- Portrait at the University of Pennsylvania
- Three volumes of handwritten letters from George Sharswood to his children, George and Jane, while the latter were on a tour of Europe, 1875-1876. The University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections
- Works by George Sharswood at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about George Sharswood at Internet Archive
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