George Wharton Pepper (1867-1961)

  • George Wharton Pepper
  • George Wharton Pepper
  • Sketch by George Wharton Pepper, included in his autobiography

George Wharton Pepper was a prominent Philadelphia lawyer, law professor, and politician. He attended the University of Pennsylvania (class of 1887) and its Law School (class of 1889) before embarking on a twenty-one year tenure as law professor, also at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1922 he entered the realm of politics as the U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. At the end of his political career in 1927 he returned to practicing law. His law career included a stint as Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association (1930-1932) as well as the founding of the law firm Pepper Hamilton (in 1954 Pepper's firm merged with Evans, Bayaed & Frick to form Pepper, Bodine, Frick, Scheetz & Hamilton). He was also active in the American Law Institute and served as its President from 1936 to 1947.

Jenkins' Portrait Gallery includes a painting of Pepper by Cameron Burnside, whom Pepper called a friend and praised his "capacity to make of a portrait a living picture" in Philadelphia Lawyer: An Autobiography (339). His portrait is on display in the Reference Room.

In addition to Pepper's portrait, Jenkins has materials by Pepper available for perusal. His autobiography, Philadelphia Lawyer: An Autobiography, is available in print in the library, and its precursor, In the Senate, is available in print as well as electronically on HeinOnline.

HeinOnline's Law Journal Library also contains law review articles written by Pepper. A search in the "Author/Creator" field for Pepper, George returns over 40 articles, including his memorials for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Owen J. Roberts (104 U. Pa. L. Rev. 372) and University of Pennsylvania Law School Dean William Draper Lewis (98 U. Pa. L. Rev. 4). Many of the articles were written during Pepper's sojourn as law professor, but two of his later speeches are also reprinted in journals: "This Profession of Ours" (36 Com. L.J. 5), which was delivered on June 26, 1929 as The President Address before the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and "Injunctions in Labor Disputes" (47 Annu. Rep. A.B.A. 174), which was delivered July 8, 1924 at a Joint Meeting of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

For the 200th anniversary celebration of the Philadelphia Bar Association, The Philadelphia Lawyer (Winter 2002, at 84) named Pepper one of the Legends of the Philadelphia Bar for his contributions to the profession, including his work as an appellate lawyer. Opinions of the cases he participated in can be searched on the library's Lexis and WestlawNext computers, and select briefs from these cases are available in Jenkins' Court Records & Briefs Index.


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