Israel Wilson Durham

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Israel Wilson Durham (24 October 1855 – 28 June 1909) was a Republican State Senator of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was also briefly the President and principal owner of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team in 1909.

Early life

Durham was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he received a public school education and subsequently learned the trade of bricklaying. When his father's business as a flour dealer rapidly grew, Durham worked as his assistant.


From an early age he turned to politics, identifying himself with the Republican Party, then dominant in Philadelphia.

In 1885, he was elected police magistrate; he was re-elected in 1890. In 1897, he was elected a state senator from the Sixth District to fill the unexpired term of Boies Penrose, who had risen to the United States Senate. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania in 1900, 1904, and 1908. He was appointed state Insurance Commissioner by Governor William A. Stone, then re-appointed by Governor Samuel W. Pennypacker. He held this post until June 1, 1905, when he resigned to go West for his health. He abandoned his position as party leader in January 1906.[1] He was re-elected to the State Senate in 1908, to take the place of Senator Scott.

In February 1909, he and a group of investors bought the Philadelphia Phillies National League Baseball Club, of which he served as president.[2]

He died while in office on 28 June 1909 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.[3] He was interred in Philadelphia's Mount Moriah Cemetery.

Further reading

  • William Bayard Hale, "An Empire of Illusion and its Fall", Leslie's Monthly Magazine (later American Illustrated Magazine), Vol. 60, no. 4, pp. 451–459, Colver Publishing House, 1905.


  1. "ISRAEL DURHAM QUITS.; Abandons Claim to Leadership of Philadelphia Machine.", New York Times, Jan. 10, 1906.
  2. Sporting Life Magazine, Vol. 52, No. 26, March 6, 1909, Philadelphia.
  3. Obituary, Sporting Life Magazine, Vol. 53, No. 17, July 3, 1909, Philadelphia, p. 1.

External links