About this Collection
Water M. Phillips interviewed over 150 civic and political leaders on subjects related to Philadelphia city government and history between the late 1930s and the 1970s. Related collection: Walter M. Phillips, Sr. Papers (Acc. 527)
About this Interview
Politician George Leader talks about his family history, general background in York County, and his role in public affairs. After returning home from the war, Leader ran a family-operated chicken hatchery for a period before running for office. He ran for Senate in 1950 and won, taking office in 1951. After four years, Leader ran for governor, replacing Dick Dilworth as the Democratic candidate, and won, taking office in 1954. Leader goes on to recall his time in office and discusses the various committees he served on or formed, and the people he hired to work for him while he was in office. One of the accomplishments that he was most proud of was the addition of a commissioner of mental health, who helped to restructure and revivify the mental health system in Pennsylvania. Previously, for example, the doctors on staff were not trained in psychiatric medicine at all. He was also particularly proud of what his administration did for the "handicapped, crippled and retarded," adding compulsory education and additional care. He thinks that was the "most important bill I ever signed into law." Education was important to Leader because he was the first in seven generations on his mother's side to earn a college degree.
Biographical / Historical Note
Walter M. Phillips, Sr. (1912-1985) was active in Philadelphia civic and political life for over thirty years. He worked and volunteered in a variety of city and regional organizations. After retiring, Phillips initiated an oral history project, interviewing in the 1970s many individuals with whom he had worked.
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This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview. The interviewee/narrator read the transcript and made minor corrections, but the reader should bear in mind that it represents a transcription of the spoken word.
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