George Wharton Pepper, Jr.
Son of George Pepper and Mehitable 'Hitty' Markoe Pepper
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Historical records matching George W. Pepper, U.S. Senator
About George W. Pepper, U.S. Senator
George Wharton Pepper (March 16, 1867 – May 24, 1961) was an American lawyer, law professor, and Republican politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He represented Pennsylvania in the United States Senate and founded the law firm of Pepper Hamilton.
Pepper, born to upper-class parents of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1887 and from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1889. He was admitted to the bar in 1889. From 1892 to 1895, he edited and published the University of Pennsylvania Law Review (then called the American Law Register and Review) with his friend, William Draper Lewis. In the early 1900s, a court appointed Pepper receiver for the Bay State Gas Company, a bankrupt Massachusetts utility. Pepper then sued a number of nationally-known businessmen, including William Rockefeller, Henry Rogers, and Thomas Lawson, for enriching themselves at the expense of the utility.
He was appointed to the United States Senate by Governor William Sproul in 1922, following the death of Senator Boies Penrose. Pepper also succeeded Penrose as Pennsylvania's Republican National Committeeman later that year. He won the special election held that fall, and served until he was defeated for renomination by William Vare in 1926. The Senate would subsequently refuse to seat Vare over allegations of fraud concerning the 1926 primary and general elections.
During the public debate over the expansion of advertising in the 1920s, Senator Pepper argued for a "nationwide code of regulation," described in a 1929 speech to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. He pointed out that in preserving natural beauty, no national economic benefit was lost—-real estate values would increase without the addition of billboards. Pepper voiced what was then the general public fear: that if billboards became mainstream, advertising would become too obtrusive.
Pepper prevailed upon President Calvin Coolidge to name fellow Pennsylvanian Owen Josephus Roberts special counsel to investigate the Teapot Dome scandal of Warren G. Harding's administration.
Pepper was briefly the oldest living (former) senator. He is buried at St. David's Episcopal Church, Wayne, Pennsylvania.