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House Speaker Biographies

Photo credit:

"Bluett Passed Up Career on Diamond." The Evening News [Patriot News Company] 27 Dec 1924, 1.


Photo credit:

"Bluett Passed Up Career on Diamond." The Evening News [Patriot News Company] 27 Dec 1924, 1.

 

Thomas Bluett

Born: October 7, 1879, Birmingham, England.  Died: March 4, 1958, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA. Member of the House: Philadelphia County, 25th District, 1921-1927.  Affiliation: Republican.

Thomas Bluett attended Bayard Taylor and Thomas Potter public schools.  He attended Temple University and graduated from the law department in 1904.  Bluett was admitted to the Philadelphia Bar on March 6, 1905, and worked in a local practice. On June 5, 1905, Bluett married the former Phoebe Edel and together they had 4 children: William E., Jane C., Thomas T., and Robert S.  After the death of his first wife, Bluett married the former Eva Roach in 1932 and they had 1 daughter, Mary E.

In 1917 Bluett served as assistant solicitor to the city of Philadelphia.  From 1918-1919, he was elected to the Philadelphia Common Council and represented the 43rd Ward.  In November of 1920 Bluett was elected to represent the 25th District of Philadelphia for the 1921-1922 legislative session.  He was elected to 3 more successive terms and served until 1927.

Bluett was the prime sponsor of many pieces of legislation dealing with real estate and tax law.  For example, Bluett was the prime sponsor the Personal Property Taxes, First and Second Class Cities Act, or Act 421 of 1923.  This act allowed cities of these classes to collect taxes that were lawfully imposed and assessed on personal property. 

On January 6, 1925, Bluett was elected as the 113th Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 1925-1926 session.  During this session, Bluett oversaw legislation, which became Act 346 of 1925, which allowed the Department of Forests and Waters to purchase suitable land to designate as State forests.  Beginning in 1995, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources took over the role this legislation gave to the Department of Forests and Waters. 

Bluett was re-elected as Speaker for the 1927-1928 session, however, he resigned from the House in the fall of 1927 after being elected judge in the Philadelphia Municipal Court.  As Speaker in 1927, Bluett helped enact legislation that required building code to follow fire protection and evacuation guidelines.  This was known as the Fire and Panic Act, or Act 299 of 1927.

Bluett served as a judge to the Philadelphia Municipal Court for a 10-year term beginning January 1, 1928.  He was re-elected to that position in 1937.  In 1941 Bluett was elected as a judge of the Common Pleas Court No. 4 of Philadelphia County for a 10-year term, from 1942-1951.  In 1952 Bluett returned to practice as a private attorney. 

Thomas Bluett died on March 4, 1958 in the city of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.  He is interred at Forest Hills Memorial Park, Huntingdon Valley, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.


Historical Member Biography

To view this Speaker's House Historical Biography, click here.