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Arthur Horace James

Gov. Arthur Horace James

  • January 17, 1939 - January 19, 1943
  • Republican
  • July 14, 1883
  • April 27, 1973
  • Pennsylvania
  • Dickinson College
  • Married twice--Ada Morris (died 1935), two children; Emily Radcliffe Case


ARTHUR HORACE JAMES was born in Plymouth, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Dickinson College’s law school in 1904 and began the practice of law in his home town. The following year he opened a new law office in Wilkes-Barre, where he became involved in politics. He was elected District Attorney of Luzerne County in 1920, winning reelection in 1923. From 1926 to 1930 he served as Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania. And he was Judge of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania from 1932 to 1939, when he became governor. Among his gubernatorial accomplishments, James created the state Department of Commerce and the Anthracite Emergency Commission, extended the Pennsylvania Turnpike, signed a bill banning sit-down strikes, strengthened the civil service, reinforced liquor control laws, and provided for the retirement of a significant portion of the state’s bonded debt. He helped mobilize Pennsylvania’s efforts during World War II by establishing the State Council of Defense and the Selective Service Board. When the National Guard was federalized, he created the Pennsylvania Reserve Defense Corps and the Citizens’ Defense Corps for homeland defense. After leaving office, he resumed the private practice of law.


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.

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. G. New York: James T. White & Company.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

State Archives Holdings: MG-160 Arthur H. James Papers

Recent Pennsylvania Governors