James Montgomery BECK, Congress, PA (1861-1936)


BECK, James Montgomery, a Representative from Pennsylvania; born in Philadelphia, Pa., July 9, 1861; attended the public schools and was graduated from Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pa., in 1880; employed as clerk for a railway company in 1880 and studied law at night; was admitted to the bar in 1884 and commenced practice in Philadelphia; admitted to the bar of New York City in 1903, and to the bar of England in 1922; served as assistant United States attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania 1888-1892 and as United States attorney 1896-1900; appointed by President William McKinley as assistant to the Attorney General of the United States in 1900 and served until his resignation in 1903; continued the practice of law in Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington from 1903 to 1921; was elected a bencher of Grayâs Inn in 1914, being the first foreigner in 600 years to receive that distinction; also received decorations from France and Belgium; author of several books and articles on the First World War and on the Constitution of the United States; appointed by President Warren G. Harding as Solicitor General of the United States in 1921 and served until his resignation in 1925; resumed the practice of law; elected as a Republican to the Seventieth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of James M. Hazlett; reelected to the Seventy-first, Seventy-second, and Seventy-third Congresses and served from November 8, 1927, until his resignation on September 30, 1934; resumed the practice of law and was also engaged as an author; died in Washington, D.C., April 12, 1936; interment in Rock Creek Cemetery.


Keller, Morton. In Defense of Yesterday; James M. Beck and the Politics of Conservatism, 1861-1936. New York: Coward-McCann, 1958.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present