William Cameron Sproul

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William Sproul
William Cameron Sproul.jpg
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
August 18, 1919 – December 14, 1922
Preceded by Henry Justin Allen
Succeeded by Channing H. Cox
27th Governor of Pennsylvania
In office
January 21, 1919 – January 16, 1923
Lieutenant Edward Beidleman
Preceded by Martin Brumbaugh
Succeeded by Gifford Pinchot
Personal details
Born Emerson Columbus Harrington
(1870-09-16)September 16, 1870
Colerain Township, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died March 21, 1928(1928-03-21) (aged 57)
Wallingford, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Education Swarthmore College (BA)

William Cameron Sproul (September 16, 1870 – March 21, 1928) was the 27th Governor of Pennsylvania from 1919 to 1923.[1]


Sproul was born at John Douglass House in Colerain Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on September 16, 1870. The Sproul family relocated to Chester, Pennsylvania in 1883, where Sproul graduated from Chester High School in 1887.[2] He received a postsecondary education at Swarthmore College, from which he graduated with honors in 1891. In college, he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity.

After graduation, Sproul acquired an interest in the Franklin Printing Company of Philadelphia. Sproul later purchased a half interest in the Chester Times.[3]

Sproul was employed in the field of newspaper publishing, and he arose to the rank of president of the Chester Daily Times. He additionally made a substantial sum through investments in railroads and manufacturing interests.

A prominent Republican, Sproul served in the Pennsylvania State Senate from 1897 to 1919. In 1911, he drafted the landmark Sproul Highway Act, which created the state highway system.

In 1918, Sproul was elected as the 27th Governor of Pennsylvania, serving in this capacity until 1923. As governor, he focused extensively on expanding funding for education, roadway construction, and veterans' services. He also spurred an effort to expand state forest land so as to replenish the state's woodlands after years of degradation by lumber companies.

Sproul was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1920. He was later offered the nomination for vice president on a ticket with Warren Harding, but he declined the opportunity. In 1926, Sproul chaired the bi-state committee that organized the construction of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge between Philadelphia and Camden.

Although Sproul was a millioniare, he died intestate on March 21, 1928.[4][1] He was buried at the Chester Rural Cemetery.


His birthplace is known as the John Douglass House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.[5] Sproul Hall, a residence hall on the campus of Penn State University, is named after William Cameron Sproul. Governor Sproul Apartments located in Broomall, Pennsylvania, is named after William Cameron Sproul. Sproul Estates, in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, a residential development named after Governor Sproul, is built on the site of his former residence. Sproul State Forest in Clinton and Centre counties is named for him. Sproul Road, which parallels much of PA320 in between Wayne, Radnor and Marple is also named after him.


  1. ^ a b "William C. Sproul, Ex-Governor, Dies. Former Pennsylvania Executive Succumbs at 57 After Illness of Several Months. Began Life As Farmer Boy. After College He Bought Interest in a Newspaper, but Later Took Up Financial Interests". New York Times. March 22, 1928. Retrieved December 27, 2013. William Cameron Sproul, former Governor of Pennsylvania, three times President of the Union League of Philadelphia and a nationally known figure in Republican politics, died at his home, Lapidea Manor, near Chester, shortly before 10 o'clock tonight .... 
  2. ^ Ashmead, Henry Graham (1914). History of the Delaware County National Bank. Chester, Pennsylvania: Press of the Chester Times. p. 159. Retrieved 1 March 2018. 
  3. ^ Ashmead, Henry Graham (1914). History of the Delaware County National Bank. Chester, Pennsylvania: Press of the Chester Times. p. 159. Retrieved 1 March 2018. 
  4. ^ "Governor William Cameron Sproul". www.phmc.state.pa.us. Retrieved 3 March 2018. 
  5. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Martin Brumbaugh
Republican nominee for Governor of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Gifford Pinchot
Political offices
Preceded by
Martin Brumbaugh
Governor of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Gifford Pinchot
Preceded by
Henry Justin Allen
Chair of the National Governors Association
Succeeded by
Channing H. Cox