Original Portrait Bust
Commissioned by the Class of 2001 of the University of Pennsylvania Law School as its Class Gift to the Law School
Founding Father from Pennsylvania
James Wilson was born in Scotland in 1742. In 1766, he settled in Philadelphia. In 1774, Wilson gained notoriety for a pamphlet in which he maintained that the British Parliament lacked sufficient legal authority to legislate for the American Colonies. As a result, he was elected in 1775 to represent Pennsylvania at the Second Continental Congress. As a member of that body, he signed the Declaration of Independence. In 1787 he was chosen to be one of Pennsylvania's delegates to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia. He served on the Committee of Detail, the committee which finalized the precise language of our Federal Constitution. In 1789 he was appointed by President Washington as one of the first six Justices of the United States Supreme Court where he remained until his death in 1798. James Wilson was the first lecturer of Law at any American Institution of higher education, offering a series of lectures in 1790 at the College of Philadelphia, now known as the University of Pennsylvania. To quote John Cashione, Vice-President of the Class of 2001 of the University of Pennsylvania's Law School, Wilson is "Penn Law's own founding father".
This bust carved in white marble was commissioned by the Class of 2001 of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. It now resides on the second floor of the Silverman Building of Penn Law in the entrance to the Levy Conference Center.