Born in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, SAMUEL WHITAKER PENNYPACKER was a private in the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Regiment during the Civil War. He studied law privately and at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and was admitted to the Bar in 1866, later earning an LL.D. from Franklin and Marshall College. He became President of the Law Academy of Philadelphia in 1868 and authored a number of books and papers on law as well as on the early history of the Philadelphia area. He was on the Board of Education for Philadelphia from 1886 to 1889 and served as Controller of Public Schools for the 29th Ward. He went on to win appointment by Governor James A. Beaver to the Court of Common Pleas, serving from 1889 until 1900. A political reformist governor, Pennypacker called the state legislature into special session after members had refused to act on his reform recommendations. The legislature ultimately enacted voter registration legislation, increased penalties for election abuses, and requirements for civil service examinations for specific offices in Philadelphia. Also during the Pennypacker administration, the legislature established the Pennsylvania State Police to curtail abuses by police forces employed by coal and iron companies in the state. After completing his gubernatorial term, Pennypacker returned to the 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. 9. New York: James T. White & Company.