Respondent
Weil, Andrew L.
Interview Date
1995
Abstract
Respondent. provides oral history of grandfather, A. Leo Weil (ALW).
[T1S1] Respondent's grandfather prominent trial lawyer, founding member: Voter's League of Allegheny County. Respondent provides detailed information on grandfather, Adolphus Leo Weil, name shortened to A. Leo Weil (ALW), born in Keysville, Virginia; discusses great-grandfather's immigration to America from Bavaria in 1839 to Baltimore, MD, then to Richmond, VA. Respondent gives names of relatives; their birth dates, education, careers and occupations; notes Virginia seceded from Union, 1861; beginning of Civil War; describes devastating conditions after war ended, 1865. Respondent details great-grandmother's family background; discusses slavery, notes family did not believe in slavery, "evil institution." Respondent discusses life of only Jewish family in county prior to and during Civil War and family's loyalty to the South; mentions (ALW's) uncle's service in General Pickett's "Charlotte Rifles." Respondent describes family move to Titusville, PA, 1871 and recounts Jewish social life.
[T1S2] Respondent comments on (ALW's) education: University of Virginia, graduated law school, 1879; passed Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania bar exams; comments on (ALW's) first position with law firm in Cleveland, Ohio; reflects on (ALW's) marriage to Cassie Ritter, 1883, describes how they met, their move to Pittsburgh and (ALW's) expertise as oil and gas lawyer, notes Pittsburgh became oil refining center. Respondent explains (ALW) became partner in law firm with Charles M. Thorp, 1895, gives name of firm: Thorp and Weil, lists firm's major clients; notes firm dissolved, 1922. Respondent notes (ALW) most prominent trial lawyer in PA; gives numbers of cases tried in 3 courts, describes utility trial as most famous of (ALW's) cases: violation of state commerce; discusses his ethical behavior. Respondent describes house (ALW) built: 1898, Howe St. and Highland Ave; describes political climate in Pittsburgh, 1900: corrupt, mentions formation of voters league: 1902.
[T2S3] Respondent provides additional information on great grandfather; discusses (ALW's) legal cases in West Virginia; governor's interference with regulatory commission including oil and gas; adds to discussion of vice and corruption in Pittsburgh and work of voter's league during first two decades of 20<sup>th</sup> century. Respondent lists members of voter's league, including (ALW) comments on bank scandal requiring help of president Theodore Roosevelt; notes establishment of vice commission and (ALW's) prominence in Pittsburgh.
[T2S4] Respondent discusses social life in Pittsburgh in early 1900s: much anti-Semitism, Jews not permitted in country clubs; explains prominent Jewish families had own clubs: Concordia Club, Westmoreland Country Club, (ALW) member of both. Respondent recalls (ALW) among founders of Rodef Shalom Temple; grandmother president of Columbia Council (now National Council of Jewish Women), her involvement with Irene Kaufman Settlement; describes family vacations on farm in VA; gives names of (ALW's) three children; recalls (ALW's) death: 1938, preceded by grandmother: 1934. Respondent notes after death of (ALW), school named for him on Hill District: A. Leo Weil school. Respondent gives names of father and mother: Ferdinand and Aileen Guthrie Weil and name of 1 sibling, died 1950s; continues talking about his life: education at Shadyside Academy, only Jew, then Exeter and Princeton University; confirmation, social life, marriage to Peggy Thompson; gives names of children and grandchildren; children's careers; experiences as paratrooper in World War II. Respondent describes involvement with war: graduated Princeton University, member of ROTC, accelerated graduation to attend Officers Candidate School, then paratroopers.
[T3S5] Respondent mentions involvement in liberating concentration camps: German surrender and prisoner of war camps, explains life in Jewish towns in Germany and raising of them by Adolph Hitler in 1930s; notes Jews could not belong to trade guilds. Respondent gives date of graduation from University of Pittsburgh Law school: 1946, practices part time; describes his 200 year old house, elaborates on its history; provides additional information on voter's league; gives additional dates of births, marriages and deaths of family.
[T3S6] No abstract for this side.
Subjects
A. Leo Weil Elementary School (Pittsburgh, Pa.); United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Columbian Council (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Concentration camps; Education; Lawyers; Law; Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919; Slavery; Synagogues; Rodef Shalom Congregation (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Thorp and Weil (Firm); Titusville (Pa.); Lawyers; Trial practice; Virginia; Voters' League (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Weil, A. Leo, 1858-1938; World War, 1939-1945
Length (hours)
2.5
Interviewer1
Dinman, Gabrielle
Interviewer2
Harrison, Mary
Indexer
Berger, Betty
Collateral Materials
Box 107 FF 14
Identifier
ais196440.482
Rights
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh