On Scene with Bill Wilson

Former Governor William Scranton leaving the Pa. House Chambers for the public swearing in of his son as Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania in 1979.


I love it when a trip to my archives for one photo turns up others that I didn’t even know I had. Such is the case when looking for a photo I took of former Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton, who passed away on Monday (July 29) at the age of 96. I knew I had taken photos at the inauguration of his son, William Scranton III, as Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania in 1979.  I didn’t remember that I had taken photos at the indoor ceremony. I don’t think they were ever printed. So 35 years later here is the first look at Governor and Mrs. William W. Scranton at the inauguration of their son, William Scranton III, as Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania.


Ginny Thornburgh (left)  the wife of the incoming Governor, sits  former Governor William Scranton (right) and his wife, Mary (center).  


Another reason that these photos have never been seen is that I was working for a newspaper at the time who wanted photos of our local legislators. While these photos where historical they weren’t topical for a local weekly newspaper that wanted local notables not just the VIPs.


Outgoing Pennsylvania Governor Milton Shapp, Ginny Thornburgh, wife of the incoming Governor, and former Governor William Scranton at the inaugural ceremony for Governor Richard Thornburgh and Lt Governor William Scranton III. January 17, 1979. 


In 1964 then Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton provided a last minute alternative to Senator Barry Goldwater at the Republican National Convention in San Francisco. Scranton was defeated and Goldwater won the Republican nomination. In his acceptance speech Goldwater famously said, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice” signing the beginning of the conservative revolution in American politics.


Same people different focus.


These pictures harken back to the day when it was possible to be Republican and be a moderate or even liberal. When I was growing up my family proudly voted for Hugh Scott who was a senator from Pennsylvania from 1959 to 1977. He was the Republican Minority leader in the United States Senate from 1969-77.  He voted for Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

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