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Adolph J. Sabath

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Title: Adolph J. Sabath  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: United States congressional delegations from Illinois, List of historical longest-serving members of the United States Congress, List of members of the United States Congress by longevity of service, United States House of Representatives elections, 1920, United States House of Representatives elections, 1926
Collection: 1866 Births, 1952 Deaths, American People of Czech-Jewish Descent, Austro-Hungarian Emigrants to the United States, Burials at Forest Home Cemetery, Chicago, Czech Jews, Deaths from Liver Disease, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Illinois Democrats, Jewish Members of the United States House of Representatives, Lake Forest College Alumni, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Illinois, People from Bethesda, Maryland, Politicians from Chicago, Illinois
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Adolph J. Sabath

Adolph J. Sabath
35th Dean of the United States House of Representatives
In office
April 1934 – November 1952
Preceded by Edward W. Pou
Succeeded by Robert L. Doughton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 7th district
In office
January 3, 1949 – November 6, 1952
Preceded by Thomas Leonard Owens
Succeeded by James Bernard Bowler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1907 – January 3, 1949
Preceded by Anthony Michalek
Succeeded by Martin Gorski
Personal details
Born Adolph Joachim Sabath
(1866-04-04)April 4, 1866
Zabori, Czechoslovakia
Died November 6, 1952(1952-11-06) (aged 86)
Bethesda, Maryland, United States
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Chicago College of Law
Profession Business (real estate), lawyer
Religion Judaism

Adolph Joachim Sabath (April 4, 1866 – November 6, 1952) was an American politician. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Chicago, Illinois, from 1907 until his death in Bethesda, Maryland on November 6, 1952.


  • Life and career 1
  • References 2
  • Bibliography 3
  • External links 4

Life and career

He immigrated to America at age 15, became active in real estate, and received his LL.B. degree in 1892 from Lake Forest University. He served in local offices until election to Congress from the Jewish West Side in 1907. He was active in state and national Democratic party affairs, attending many conventions. In 1911, he received much positive attention in the Czech community in Chicago for his fundraising efforts in the search for Elsie Paroubek,[1] and paid for the child's funeral when her body was discovered.[2]

He was a leading opponent of prohibition in the 1920s. He denounced the prohibition factions, the Anti-Saloon League (ASL) “and their allied forces and co-workers, the Ku Klux Klan fanatics.” Every year from 1925 to 1933, he consistently submitted bills in the House of Representatives, to amend the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act to allow commerce in beer and wine. In 1929, he came to the defense of his large immigrant constituency by countering claims that they were responsible for the surge in criminal activity during the 1920s. “The bootlegging and gang killings…are not the by-product but the direct product of the Volstead Act, and the supporters of this crime breeding legislation must claim the new cult of American criminals entirely as their own,” [3]

As a leading Democrat he chaired the powerful Rules Committee after 1937. He was an ineffective chairman, with a small weak staff, who proved unable to lead his committee, was frequently at odds with the House leadership, and was inclined to write the President little letters "informing" on House Speakers William B. Bankhead and Sam Rayburn. [Robinson, p. 81]

Beginning on April 1, 1934, he was the Dean (longest-serving member) of the House and he served as Dean for 18 years, 7 months, and 5 days: the longest time any person had served as Dean until John Dingell passed him on August 8, 2013.

Sabath was an avid New Dealer and an interventionist who strongly supported war against Germany. It was Sabath who nominated a teenage (later Admiral) Hyman G. Rickover to the United States Naval Academy.

He died of liver disease on November 6, 1952 and was buried at Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois, near Chicago.[4][5]


  1. ^ "Canal Yields Up Body of Missing Elsie Paroubek: Descriptions Tally Exactly, But Father Awaits Mother's Full Identification.", Chicago Tribune, May 9, 1911: 1 .
  2. ^ "Reward For Slayer $1000: Deneen Adds $200 to Aid in Capture of Paroubek Murderer.", Chicago Tribune, May 11, 1911: 2 .
  3. ^ Davis, Marni, "Jews And Booze: Becoming American In The Age Of Prohibition," New York University Press, 2012, p. 191, ISBN 978-0-8147-2028-8
  4. ^ "Adolph Sabath Dies; In House for 23 Terms". Chicago Tribune. November 6, 1952. 
  5. ^ "Browse by City: Forest Park". Retrieved 2008-05-05. 


  • James A. Robinson; The House Rules Committee. 1963.

External links

  • Sabath papers, with bio
  • Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Anthony Michalek
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 5th congressional district

March 4, 1907 - January 3, 1949
Succeeded by
Martin Gorski
Preceded by
Thomas Leonard Owens
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 7th congressional district

January 3, 1949 – November 6, 1952
Succeeded by
James Bernard Bowler
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