JAMES HENDERSON DUFF was born in Carnegie, Pennsylvania.. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Princeton University in 1904, studied at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and received an LL.B. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1907. For more than three decades thereafter he was associated with the law firm of Duff, Scott & Smith in Pittsburgh. In addition to serving as a delegate to three Republican National Conventions, he was State Attorney General under Governor Edward Martin from 1943 to 1947. After becoming governor, he raised taxes on cigarettes, imposed a tax on soft drinks, and reinstated a tax on capital stocks, all in an effort to generate greater revenue for conservation, construction, and public health. He also developed the Philadelphia port area, undertook an initiative to rid the Schuylkill River of contamination, arranged for the construction of new bridges over the Delaware River, expanded overcrowded mental hospitals, and raised the salaries of Pennsylvania’s teachers. Believing that labor-management disputes were detrimental to public welfare, he signed legislation prohibiting strikes by essential public utilities and forbidding individuals from picketing plants where they did not work. At the same time, he approved a measure ensuring women equal pay for equal work and extending the permissible workweek for women from forty to forty-eight hours. In January 1951 Duff left office to take a seat in the U.S. Senate, where he served until 1957.
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
Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress
Who Was Who in America, Vol. V. Chicago: Marquis Who’s Who, Inc., 1973.
State Archives Holdings: MG-190 James H. Duff Papers