Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, JOHN CROMWELL BELL received an LL.B. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a member of the varsity soccer and tennis teams. Continuing to play tennis, he was one of the top ten players in America in the 1920s and 1930s. He served as Assistant Solicitor for the city of Philadelphia from 1919 to 1922, Assistant District Attorney of Philadelphia from 1922 to 1925, State Secretary of Banking from 1938 to 1943, and Lieutenant Governor from 1943 to 1947. In his capacity as President of the State Senate, he became governor upon the resignation of Edward Martin, who had won election to the U.S. Senate. Bell served for just a few weeks before the newly-elected governor, James H. Duff, was inaugurated. Three years later Governor Duff appointed him to the State Supreme Court, where he became Chief Justice in 1961. Retiring as Chief Justice in 1972, he was appointed a special consultant to the office of the District Attorney in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, a position in which he served until his death.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Who Was Who in America, Vol. VI. Chicago: Marquis Who’s Who, 1976.
State Archives Holdings: MG-194 John C. Bell Papers