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Grover C. Talbot

Born: April 23, 1885, East Coventry Township, Chester County, PA.  Died: December 21, 1935, Drexel Hill, Delaware County, PA.  Member of the House: Delaware County, 2nd District, 1925-1934.  Affiliation: Republican.

Grover Cleveland Talbot graduated from the Philadelphia public schools.  Following high school graduation, Talbot worked in his father’s business, the Henry Talbot Coal Company.  Talbot worked as a lumberman in North Carolina for a short time, where he married the former Elizabeth Riddich.  They had 2 daughters, Elizabeth R. (Southmayd) and Ellen J. (Frost).

Upon moving back to Pennsylvania, Talbot became the director of the Tinicum Bank of Essington in 1914.  Locally, he was elected as Norwood’s Registry Assessor in 1917 and to the Norwood Borough Council in 1918.  Talbot enlisted in the Pennsylvania Reserve Militia and served as first sergeant for Company G from 1918-1919, during World War I.  Talbot was elected burgess of Norwood in 1921.  In November of 1924, Talbot was elected to the Pennsylvania House to serve the 2nd District of Delaware County for the 1925-1926 Session.  He was re-elected to 4 more successive terms.

In 1927 Talbot was the prime sponsor of legislation, which became Act 406, to protect registration and names of institutions including: military and veteran organizations, labor unions, historical societies, among many others.  Talbot was a legislator during the Great Depression.  He authored 2 bills known as the Talbot Acts.  The first Talbot Act appropriated $10 million in aid for unemployment assistance.  It became law, as Act 7E, on December 28, 1931, without Governor Pinchot’s signature, and therefore, its constitutionality was questioned.  On April 7, 1932, the Supreme Court declared it to be constitutional.  This ruling set a precedent and determined the state’s constitutional right to appropriate funds for relief of the unemployed.  Since the law’s funding was inadequate, 1 year later in the second special session, summer of 1932, Talbot introduced the second Talbot Act, Act 52, which provided an additional $12 million in aid.  As a consequence of the second Talbot Act, a third piece of legislation, the Hagmaier Sales Tax Bill, or Act 53 of 1932, was enacted in order to levy a 1 percent sales tax for 6 months on all retail sales except farm products.  This 6-month tax was necessary to fund the $12 million in the second Talbot Act in order for the State Emergency Relief Board to distribute relief money.

Talbot was selected as chairman of the Centennial Affairs Committee in 1929.  On January 3, 1933, Talbot was elected as the 116th Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.  He would serve in this position for the 1933-1934 Session.

In the worst part of the Great Depression, Talbot presided over a legislature that dealt with an historically high unemployment rate of 37.1 percent.  To deal with this problem, Talbot was the prime sponsor of 2 pieces of legislation that would double unemployment funding with appropriations to the State Emergency Relief Board, Acts 1A and 3A of 1933.  In one of his last legislative acts at the rostrum, Talbot oversaw legislation, which would become Acts 1 through 8 of 1934, to transfer $23 million of special funds to unemployment relief. 

Talbot did not seek another term as a Representative in 1935.  Instead, he ran for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor and was defeated by Harry B. Scott, the Senate President Pro Tempore.  In 1935, he was named the president of the Pennsylvania Retail Coal Dealers Association.  On December 21, 1935, Grover C. Talbot died in an automobile accident in Drexel Hill, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.  He is interred at the Mt. Zion Cemetery in Darby, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

Historical Member Biography

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