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Boies Penrose

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Title: Boies Penrose  
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Subject: United States Senate election in Pennsylvania, 1914, United States Senate election in Pennsylvania, 1920, George W. Pepper, Matthew Quay, United States Senate elections, 1920
Collection: 1860 Births, 1921 Deaths, American People of Cornish Descent, American Political Bosses from Pennsylvania, Burials at Laurel Hill Cemetery (Philadelphia), Burials in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by Place, Chairs of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania, Deaths from Pulmonary Embolism, Episcopal Academy Alumni, Harvard University Alumni, Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Pennsylvania Republicans, Pennsylvania State Senators, People from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Politicians from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Presidents Pro Tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate, Republican Party United States Senators, United States Senators from Pennsylvania
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Boies Penrose

Boies Penrose
United States Senator
from Pennsylvania
In office
March 4, 1897 – December 31, 1921
Preceded by J. Donald Cameron
Succeeded by George Pepper
Member of the
Republican National Committee
from Pennsylvania
In office
May 18, 1916 – December 31, 1921
Preceded by Henry Wasson
Succeeded by George Pepper
In office
June 9, 1904 – May 1, 1912
Preceded by Matthew Quay
Succeeded by Henry Wasson
Chairman of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania
In office
May 27, 1903 – April 26, 1905
Preceded by Matthew Quay
Succeeded by Wesley Andrews
President pro tempore
of the Pennsylvania Senate
In office
May 9, 1889 – May 28, 1891
Preceded by John Grady
Succeeded by John P. S. Gobin
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate
from the 6th district
In office
January 4, 1887 – January 27, 1897[1]
Preceded by Robert Adams, Jr.
Succeeded by Israel 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
Died December 31, 1921(1921-12-31) (aged 61)
Washington D.C.
Political party Republican

Boies Penrose (November 1, 1860 – December 31, 1921) was an American lawyer and Republican politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He represented Pennsylvania in the United States Senate from 1897 until his death in 1921. Penrose was the fourth boss of the Pennsylvania Republican machine, following Simon Cameron, Donald Cameron, and Matthew Quay.[3] Penrose was the longest-serving Pennsylvania Senator until Arlen Specter surpassed his record in 2005.[4]


  • Personal life and early career 1
  • Political career 2
  • Death and Legacy 3
  • Quotes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Personal life and early career

Born into a prominent Philadelphia family of Cornish descent,[5] he was brother to Richard Penrose and Spencer Penrose. Penrose graduated second in his class from Harvard University in 1881, and was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1883. Although Penrose wrote two books on political reform, he joined the political machine of Matthew Quay, a Pennsylvania political boss.[6] He was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1884, and was elected to the State Senate in 1886, where he served as president pro tempore from 1889 to 1891.

Penrose was an avid outdoorsman and took pleasure in mountain exploration and big-game hunting. A mountain in Montana and another in the Dickson Range in the Bridge River Country in British Columbia were climbed and named by him. The Senator was a large, heavy man and according to his hunting guide, W.G. (Bill) Manson, they had to shop all over the place to get a horse big enough to fit Penrose and his custom saddle. The horse was called "Senator", and was retired to the pasture because no standard saddle would fit him.

Political career

Penrose stepped down from his position as a State Senator in 1897 to take office as a United States Senator, defeating John Wanamaker for the position. He was elected Chairman of the State Republican Party in 1903, succeeding fellow Senator Matthew Quay.[7] A year later, Quay died, and Penrose was appointed to succeed him as the state's Republican National Committeeman.[8]

He quickly became a power broker in the state, enabling figures like

United States Senate
Preceded by
J. Donald Cameron
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Pennsylvania
Served alongside: William Crow
Succeeded by
George Pepper
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
John Grady
President pro tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate
Succeeded by
John P. S. Gobin
Pennsylvania State Senate
Preceded by
Robert Adams, Jr.
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate for the 6th District
Succeeded by
Israel Durham
Party political offices
Preceded by
Matthew Quay
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
George Pepper
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.

External links

  1. ^ Cox, Harold (2004). "Pennsylvania Senate - 1897-1898" (PDF).  
  2. ^ Sharon Trostle, ed. (2009). The Pennsylvania Manual (PDF) 119.  
  3. ^ a b Beers, Paul B. (1 November 2010). Pennsylvania Politics Today and Yesterday: The Tolerable Accommodation. Penn State Press. p. 53. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  4. ^ Goldstein, Steve (1 November 2005). "Specter is Pa.'s longest-serving U.S. senator He breaks Boies Penrose's record.". Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  5. ^ White, G. Pawley, A Handbook of Cornish Surnames.(Penrose mentioned by name)
  6. ^ a b c d "Chapter Four: From the Progressive Era to the Great Depression". Explore PA History. WITF. Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Quay's Push Cut The Ice". The Youngstown Vindicator. May 27, 1903. Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  8. ^ "News Summary". The Ottawa Free Trader. June 10, 1904. Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "T.R. Sweep In Pennsylvania". The St. Joseph News-Press. May 2, 1912. Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Ford Ahead Of T.R. In Philadelphia Vote". The Baltimore Sun. May 18, 1916. Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Pinchot Hits Assessment Of Office Holders". The Reading Eagle. June 11, 1922. Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  13. ^ Abernethy, Lloyd (April 1962). "The Progressive Campaign in Pennsylvania, 1912". Pennsylvania History 29 (2): 175–195. 
  14. ^ a b Kennedy, Joseph S. (26 October 2003). "Grundy's legacy in Pa. For decades, he was a force in the GOP.". Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "Senator Boies Penrose Dead," Indianapolis Sunday Star, 1922-01-01 at p. 1, retrieved 2012-10-15.
  16. ^ "Liberty Bell Attracts Crowd in Greenville During 1915 Stop". Greenville Advocate. July 3, 2007. 
  17. ^ "Bronze Maintenance". Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee. Retrieved November 28, 2009. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Beers, Paul B. Pennsylvania Politics Today and Yesterday. University Park and London: Pennsylvania State University Press. p. 51.  


"I would rather have seated beside me in this chamber a polygamist who doesn't polyg than a monogamist who doesn't monag." — Penrose speaking during hearings on whether to seat Utah-elected Senator Reed Smoot, who was a member of the [then-polygamous] LDS church, but who did not himself practice polygamy.[19]

"Yes, but I'll preside over the ruins." — Boies Penrose's reply to a Republican Party reformer's accusation that Penrose was ruining the party's prospects for victory (and the reformer's chances for dominance over the party's apparatus) by putting up a slate of candidates who were stand-pat party hacks with no chance of winning.

"All physical and economic tests that may be devised are worthless if the immigrant, through racial or other inherently antipathetic conditions, cannot be more or less readily assimilated..." — Boies Penrose, 1902, Chinese Exclusion and the Problem of Immigration

"I believe in the division of labor. You send us to Congress; we pass laws under which you make money...and out of your profits, you further contribute to our campaign funds to send us back again to pass more laws to enable you to make more money." — Senator Boies Penrose (R-Pa.), 1896, citing the relationship between his politics and big business.

"Public office is the last refuge of a scoundrel." — Boies Penrose


Following Penrose's death, his lieutenant Joseph Grundy became one of the leaders of the Republican machine, but no one boss dominated the party like Penrose and his predecessors had.[14]

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 Philadelphia's Laurel Hill Cemetery.[18]

Death and Legacy

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 again.[16] A statue of Penrose has been in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's Capitol Park since September 1930.[17]

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] Penrose consistently supported "pro-business" policies, and opposed labor reform and women's rights.[6]

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.[13] Penrose was also a major supporter of Warren Harding, and helped the Ohio Senator win the 1920 Republican nomination.[14] Penrose's role in Harding's election helped earn Pennsylvanian Andrew W. Mellon the role of Secretary of the Treasury.[6]

[6].Gifford Pinchot Progressive and A. Mitchell Palmer); Penrose publicly campaigned for the first time in his life and defeated Democrat Seventeenth Amendment, Penrose faced his first direct election (following the passage of the 1914 In [12] he would remain in the position until his death.[11], Penrose was able to garner enough support to return to his post as national committeeman;1912 presidential election in the Theodore Roosevelt At that year's party convention, Penrose did not stand for re-election to his national committee post. Following Flinn's departure from the party to support [10], in 1912.William Flinn He was forced out of power by the progressive faction of the party, led by [9]

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