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Boies Penrose

In office
Preceded by James Donald Cameron
Succeeded by George Wharton Pepper

Born November 1, 1860(1860-11-01)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died December 31, 1921 (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.



Born into a prominent Philadelphia family, he was brother to Spencer Penrose, who in 1918 would build the elegant Broadmoor Hotel at Colorado Springs, Colorado. Boies Penrose graduated from Harvard Law School in 1881, and was accepted into the Pennsylvania bar association in 1883. He took an interest in politics and began working for Matthew Quay, a Pennsylvania political boss. He was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1884 and served until 1886 when he was elected to the State Senate, where he served as president pro tempore from 1889 to 1891.

Penrose stepped down from his position as a State Senator in 1897 to take office as a United States Senator. Penrose was a dominant member of the Senate Finance Committee and supported high protective tariffs. Penrose was elected the Republican leader of Pennsylvania upon Quay's death in 1904, and was re-elected to this position in 1908.

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 will not be moved from Pennsylvania again.[1]

Penrose died in Washington, D.C. in 1921, and was buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

Senator 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.

A statue of Senator Penrose has been in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's Capitol Park since September 1930.[2]


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

"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.

"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

"Yes, but I'll preside over the ruins." — Bois 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.


  1. ^ "Liberty Bell Attracts Crowd in Greenville During 1915 Stop". Greenville Advocate. July 3, 2007.  
  2. ^ "Bronze Maintenance". Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee. Retrieved November 28, 2009.  

External links

United States Senate
Preceded by
James Donald Cameron
United States Senator (Class 3) from Pennsylvania
Served alongside: Matthew S. Quay, Philander C. Knox, George T. Oliver, William E. Crow
Succeeded by
George Wharton 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


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