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George Wharton Pepper circa 1913

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 as receiver for the Bay State Gas Company, a bankrupt Massachusetts utility. Pepper led the company in suing a number of nationally-known businessmen, including William Rockefeller, Henry H. Rogers, and Thomas W. Lawson, whom he accused of unfairly enriching themselves at the expense of the company.

During 1920s controversy about the expansion of advertising, Senator Pepper argued for a "nationwide code of regulation," as pronounced 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 and related figures would increase without the addition of billboards. Pepper represented what was, at the time, the general popular will: that if billboards became mainstream, this would signal advertising becoming too obtrusive, too aggressive in its campaign to persuade the public.

Pepper was instrumental in President Calvin Coolidge’s naming of fellow Pennsylvanian Owen Josephus Roberts as Special Counsel to investigate the Teapot Dome scandal of the previous administration of Warren G. Harding.

He was briefly the oldest living (former) senator. He is buried at St. David's Episcopal Church, Wayne, Pennsylvania.[1]





  • Pepper, George Wharton. Philadelphia Lawyer, an Autobiography (1944)


External links

United States Senate
Preceded by
Boies Penrose
United States Senator (Class 3) from Pennsylvania
January 9, 1922–March 3, 1927
Served alongside: David Reed
Succeeded by
William S. Vare
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Joseph Grundy
Oldest living U.S. Senator
March 3, 1961-May 24, 1961
Succeeded by
Theodore Green


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