Weiss, Samuel Arthur

views updated


WEISS, SAMUEL ARTHUR (1902–1977), U.S. congressman and judge. Weiss, born in Krotowica, Poland, went to the United States as an infant and was educated at Duquesne University (1927). He played football while in college, retaining a devotion to athletics throughout his subsequent career. Admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1927, he organized a private practice in Pittsburgh. He was elected to the state legislature as a Democrat in 1934 and served there from 1935 to 1939. Weiss represented the 31st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1941 to 1946, the first Jew elected by the district. His congressional activities reflected a continuing interest in Jewish matters, as well as in promoting physical fitness. He resigned from Congress when he was elected judge of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, sitting on that bench from 1946 to 1967.

He was a referee for the National Football League from 1942 to 1954 and officiated in collegiate football as well. Long associated with B'nai B'rith in his home state, Weiss served as national vice president from 1949 to 1967. He was tri-state regional chairman of the United Jewish Appeal from the 1950s.