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Chudoff, Earl


CHUDOFF, EARL (1907–1993), U.S. congressman. Chudoff (pronounced CHOO-doff), the son of Morris and Jenny Chudoff, was born in Philadelphia. The family lived in the Jewish enclave known as "Strawberry Mansion," where Morris first sold ladies dresses, then gravitated into the dental supply business. The Chudoff family belonged to the local Conservative synagogue, where Earl had his bar mitzvah in 1920. Earl Chudoff was educated in the Philadelphia public school system and received an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in 1929. Three years later, he received his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Passing the bar in 1933, he went into private practice in Philadelphia. From 1936 to 1939, he served as a building and loan examiner for the Pennsylvania State Department of Banking. With the coming of war, he entered the United States Coast Guard Reserve, where he served as chief boatswain's mate from December 1942 until September 1945.

A year before he entered the Coast Guard Reserve, Earl Chudoff was elected to the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives. He served in that body from 1941 to 1948, at which time he ran for Congress as a Democrat from Philadelphia's 4th District. Defeating Republican incumbent Franklin J. Maloney, who had won the seat just two years earlier, Chudoff won election to the 81st Congress in November 1948, and wound up spending nine years in the House of Representatives. In Congress, he served on the House District Committee and the House Operations Committee. At one point, he chaired the House Public Works Committee subcommittee on public works and resources. In January 1958 – midway through his fifth term – Chudoff resigned his seat in order to take a position as judge on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Elected to a ten-year term in 1958, he served on that body until his retirement in 1978. While on the bench, he was known for "often holding defendants, lawyers and witnesses in contempt of court for failing to act respectfully in his courtroom."


K.F. Stone, The Congressional Minyan: The Jews of Capitol Hill (2000), 59.

[Kurt Stone (2nd ed.)]

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