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Governor John Sydney Fine

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Office Dates:  Jan 16, 1951 - Jan 18, 1955

Born:  Apr 10, 1893

Passed:  May 21, 1978

Birth State:  Pennsylvania

Party:  Republican

Family:  Married Helene Pennebecker Morgan; two children

School(s):  Dickinson School of Law

Military Service:  Army

JOHN SYDNEY FINE was born near Nanticoke, Pennsylvania. After receiving his LL.B. degree from Dickinson School of Law in 1914, he was admitted to the Luzerne County Bar and began a law practice in Wilkes-Barre. While on military duty in Ireland during World War I, he did postgraduate studies in Dublin, and returned to the practice of law when the war ended. He became active with the Republican Party and was appointed Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County by Governor Gifford Pinchot in 1927. He won reelection to the Court in 1939, serving until 1947, when he was appointed by Governor James Duff to the Pennsylvania Superior Court. He remained on the Superior Court until his campaign for governor in 1950. Facing a financial crisis when he took office, he was granted a one-percent selective sales and use tax by the state Assembly as an alternative to an income tax, which he preferred but the Assembly opposed. Fine also established a committee to study governmental structure, reorganized the state Department of Health, and continued efforts to improve educational, mental health, anti-pollution, and highway programs. He resumed his law practice after leaving office.


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


State Archives Holdings: MG-206 John S. Fine Papers