HARRISBURG – Senator Dominic Pileggi (R-9), Chairman of the Legislative Data Processing Committee, announced today that biographies of nearly 1,500 former Pennsylvania state senators are now available online in a searchable database.
“This is a real treasure for students of history,” Senator Pileggi said. “The database covers the entire history of the Pennsylvania Senate, from the first senators who served in 1791 through those whose service concluded just last year.”
The 1,487 historic Senate biographies can be accessed on the General Assembly’s website via http://tiny.cc/PASenateHistory. Current members are not included in the database; their biographies can be accessed separately on the website.
Users can search the database for a particular name, political party, date, and more. For example, it’s easy to learn that the first session of the Senate included members of the Federalist and Jeffersonian Republican parties – along with two Anti-Federalists, that Edward Despard Gazzam of Allegheny County was the only member of the Free Soil party – a single-issue party which opposed the expansion of slavery to western territories – to serve in the Senate, and that John Parker of Schuylkill County was the only member of the Greenback Labor party – which focused on issues of monetary policy.
“The database will always be a work in progress,” Senator Pileggi said. “Although it already includes a tremendous amount of information, our hope is that historians, both professional and amateur, can help us improve the biographies.” Users can suggest additions and corrections by using the form found at http://tiny.cc/PASenateForm.
Senator Pileggi thanked William Shufflebarger, a former Senate employee, for doing the vast bulk of the research that led to the creation of this database.
Information in the historic biographies can be matched with the historic district maps found at http://www.redistricting.state.pa.us/Maps/Senate.cfm to give users a fuller context of the senators’ service. The House of Representatives maintains a Biographical Directory at http://tiny.cc/PAHouseHistory.
Erik Arneson, firstname.lastname@example.org, (717) 787-4712