The John M. Read papers consists of correspondence, estate records, financial documents, legal documents, and letterpress
books related to Read’s career as an American lawyer, jurist, and politician.
John Meredith Read was born in Philadelphia, son of John Read (1769-1854) and Martha Meredith, and grandson of George Read
(1733-1798) and Samuel Meredith (1741-1817). Read graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1812, at the age of fifteen.
Six years later he was admitted to the bar and opened a law practice in Philadelphia. His office, on 1322 Chestnut Street,
grew into a booming legal practice that handled a wide variety of civil and criminal cases, the law of equity, the titles,
limitations, and descents of real and personal estates, wills, legacies, and intestacies. Read was known as one the ablest
debaters in the state and an expert in international, municipal, and constitutional law. Read served in the state legislature
(1822-1824) and was the solicitor for the city of Philadelphia and member of the select council.
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