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Boies Penrose
United States Senator
from Pennsylvania
In office
March 4, 1897 – December 31, 1921
Preceded byJ. Donald Cameron
Succeeded byGeorge Pepper
Member of the
Republican National Committee
from Pennsylvania
In office
May 18, 1916 – December 31, 1921
Preceded byHenry Wasson
Succeeded byGeorge Pepper
In office
June 9, 1904 – May 1, 1912
Preceded byMatthew Quay
Succeeded byHenry Wasson
Chairman of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania
In office
May 27, 1903 – April 26, 1905
Preceded byMatthew Quay
Succeeded byWesley Andrews
President pro tempore
of the Pennsylvania Senate
In office
May 9, 1889 – May 28, 1891
Preceded byJohn Grady
Succeeded byJohn P. S. Gobin
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate
from the 6th district
In office
January 4, 1887 – January 27, 1897[1]
Preceded byRobert Adams, Jr.
Succeeded byIsrael Wilson Durham
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
from the Philadelphia County district
In office
January 6, 1885[2] – June 12, 1885
Personal details
Born(1860-11-01)November 1, 1860
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedDecember 31, 1921(1921-12-31) (aged 61)
Washington D.C., U.S.
Political partyRepublican

Boies Penrose (November 1, 1860 – December 31, 1921) was an American lawyer and Republican politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

After serving in both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature, he represented Pennsylvania in the United States Senate from 1897 until his death in 1921. Penrose was the fourth political boss of the Pennsylvania Republican political machine (known under his bossism as the Penrose machine), following Simon Cameron, Donald Cameron, and Matthew Quay.[3]: 53  Penrose was the longest-serving Pennsylvania U.S. senator until Arlen Specter surpassed his record in 2005.[4]

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Early life

Born into a prominent Old Philadelphian family of Cornish descent,[5] he was a grandson of Speaker of the Pennsylvania Senate Charles B. Penrose and brother of gynecologist Charles Bingham Penrose and mining entrepreneurs Richard and Spencer Penrose. He was a descendant of the prominent Biddle family of Philadelphia.[citation needed]

Penrose attended Harvard University, where he became a member of Beta Theta Pi.[6] He graduated second in his class in 1881. After reading the law with an established firm, he was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1883.[citation needed]

State politics

Although Penrose wrote two books on political reform, he joined the political machine of Matthew Quay, a Pennsylvania Republican political boss.[7] He was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1884, and was elected to the Pennsylvania Senate for the 6th district in 1886. He served as president pro tempore from 1889 to 1891.

Penrose served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1884 to 1886 and as a member of the Pennsylvania Senate for the 6th district from 1887 to 1897. He was President Pro Tempore from 1889 to 1891.[8]

Penrose was elected Chairman of the State Republican Party in 1903, succeeding fellow Senator Matthew Quay.[9] A year later, Quay died, and Penrose was appointed to succeed him as the state's Republican National Committeeman.[10] He quickly became a power broker in the state, enabling figures like Richard Baldwin to advance through loyalty to his organization.[11]

In 1912, Penrose was forced out of power by the progressive faction of the party led by William Flinn, in 1912.[12] Penrose did not stand for re-election to his national committee post. However, following Flinn's departure from the party to support Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party, Penrose was able to garner enough support to return to his post as national committeeman and would remain in the position until his death.[13][14]

U.S. Senator

In 1897, the state legislature elected Penrose to the United States Senate over John Wanamaker. He left his office as a State Senator that year to take the new position.

Penrose was a dominant member of the Senate Finance Committee and supported high protective tariffs. He had also served on the United States Senate Committee on Banking, United States Senate Committee on Naval Affairs, United States Senate Committee on Post Office and Post Roads, United States Senate Committee on Education and Labor, and United States Senate Committee on Immigration.[15] One of Penrose's most important legislative actions was adding the "oil depletion allowance" to the Revenue Act of 1913.[3]: 42  Penrose consistently supported "pro-business" policies, and opposed labor reform and women's rights.[7]

In the 1912 presidential election, Penrose strongly supported incumbent President William Howard Taft over former President Theodore Roosevelt. After a campaign that consisted of heavy attacks on Penrose, Roosevelt won the state in the 1912 election, although Democrat Woodrow Wilson won the national vote.[16] Penrose was also a major supporter of Warren Harding, and helped the Ohio Senator win the 1920 Republican nomination.[17] Penrose's role in Harding's election helped earn Pennsylvanian Andrew W. Mellon the role of Secretary of the Treasury.[7]

In 1914, Penrose faced his first direct election (following the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment). He publicly campaigned for the first time in his life and defeated Democrat A. Mitchell Palmer and Progressive Gifford Pinchot.[7]

In November 1915, Penrose accompanied the Liberty Bell on its nationwide tour returning to Pennsylvania from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco; Penrose accompanied the bell to New Orleans and then to Philadelphia. The Liberty Bell has not been moved from Pennsylvania since.[18]

Personal life and business

Penrose was an avid outdoorsman and took pleasure in mountain exploration and big-game hunting. Penrose climbed and named at least two mountains: one in Montana and another in the Dickson Range in the Bridge River Country of British Columbia.

The Senator was a large, heavy man and, according to his hunting guide, W.G. (Bill) Manson, they had to spend a lot of time to find a horse hop big enough to carry Penrose and his custom saddle. The horse was called "Senator." After Penrose stopped riding, the horse was retired to pasture because no standard saddle would fit him.

In 1903 Boies, along with his brothers and father, invested in the formation of the Utah Copper Company.[19]

Death and legacy

Boies Penrose tombstone in Laurel Hill Cemetery

Penrose died in his Wardman Park penthouse suite in Washington, D.C. in the last hour of 1921, after suffering a pulmonary thrombosis.[15] He was buried in the family grave section in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.[8]

Following Penrose's death, his lieutenant Joseph Grundy became one of the leaders of the Republican machine, but no one boss dominated the party as Penrose and his predecessors had.[17]

A statue of Penrose modeled by Philadelphia sculptor Samuel Murray has been in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's Capitol Park since September 1930.[20]

See also


  1. ^ Cox, Harold (2004). "Pennsylvania Senate - 1897-1898" (PDF). Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University.
  2. ^ Sharon Trostle, ed. (2009). The Pennsylvania Manual (PDF). Vol. 119. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Department of General Services. ISBN 978-0-8182-0334-3.
  3. ^ a b Beers, Paul B. (November 1, 2010). Pennsylvania Politics Today and Yesterday: The Tolerable Accommodation. Penn State Press. ISBN 978-0271044989. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  4. ^ Goldstein, Steve (November 1, 2005). "Specter is Pa.'s longest-serving U.S. senator/ He breaks Boies Penrose's record". Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  5. ^ White, G. Pawley, A Handbook of Cornish Surnames. (Boies Penrose mentioned by name)
  6. ^ "The Beta Theta Pi". 1887.
  7. ^ a b c d "Chapter Four: From the Progressive Era to the Great Depression". Explore PA History. WITF. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Pennsylvania State Senate - Boies Penrose Biography". Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  9. ^ "Quay's Push Cut The Ice". The Youngstown Vindicator. May 27, 1903. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  10. ^ "News Summary". The Ottawa Free Trader. June 10, 1904. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  11. ^ Earl C. Kaylor, Jr., Martin Grove Brumbaugh: A Pennsylvanian's Odyssey from Sainted Schoolman to Bedeviled World War I Governor, 1862-1930 (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 1996), p. 300.
  12. ^ "T.R. Sweep In Pennsylvania". The St. Joseph News-Press. May 2, 1912. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  13. ^ "Ford Ahead Of T.R. In Philadelphia Vote". The Baltimore Sun. May 18, 1916. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  14. ^ "Pinchot Hits Assessment Of Office Holders". The Reading Eagle. June 11, 1922. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  15. ^ a b "Senator Boies Penrose Dead," Indianapolis Sunday Star, January 1, 1922 at p. 1, retrieved 2012-10-15.
  16. ^ Abernethy, Lloyd (April 1962). "The Progressive Campaign in Pennsylvania, 1912". Pennsylvania History. 29 (2): 175–195.
  17. ^ a b Kennedy, Joseph S. (October 26, 2003). "Grundy's legacy in Pa. For decades, he was a force in the GOP". Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  18. ^ "Liberty Bell Attracts Crowd in Greenville During 1915 Stop". Greenville Advocate. July 3, 2007.
  19. ^ Charles Caldwell Hawley (2014). A Kennecott Story. The University of Utah Press. pp. 37–40.
  20. ^ "Bronze Maintenance". Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2009.

External links

U.S. Senate
Preceded by  U.S. senator (Class 3) from Pennsylvania
Served alongside: Matthew Quay, Philander Knox, George Oliver, William Crow
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Nelson Aldrich
Rhode Island
Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance
Succeeded by
Furnifold Simmons
North Carolina
Preceded by
Furnifold Simmons
North Carolina
Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance
Succeeded by
Porter McCumber
North Dakota
Preceded by President pro tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate
Succeeded by
Pennsylvania State Senate
Preceded by Member of the Pennsylvania Senate for the 6th District
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Member of the Republican National Committee from Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Henry Wasson
Chairman of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Wesley Andrews
Preceded by
Henry Wasson
Member of the Republican National Committee from Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Preceded by Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
(Class 3)

1914, 1920
Notes and references
1. The 1914 election marked the first time that all seats up for election were popularly elected instead of chosen by their state legislatures.
This page was last edited on 26 September 2023, at 21:41
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