Biography and History

Roland S. (Sletor) Morris was a leader of the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania and was the ambassador to Japan from 1917-1921. Morris was born in Olympia, Washington on March 11, 1874 to Thomas Burnside Morris and Sarah Arndt Sletor. Morris attended the Lawrenceville School before entering Princeton University in September 1892. He graduated in June 1896, and went to the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 1896-1899, graduating cum laude. After receiving his law degree, Morris practiced law in Philadelphia at the firm of Duane, Morris and Heckscher. Morris was also politically active; he was the Chairman of the Democratic State Finance Committee in 1908 and from 1913-1916; additionally, he was a delegate or delegate at large to the Democratic National Convention in 1904, 1908, 1912, 1920, and 1928. President Woodrow Wilson appointed him as Ambassador to Japan from 1917-1921, and sent him on a special mission to Siberia from 1918-1919. Morris was a professor of international law at the University of Pennsylvania beginning in 1924, the Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, President of the American Philosophical Society, a trustee of both Princeton University and Temple University, and a Regent of the Smithsonian Institute.

Morris married Augusta Shippen West in Philadelphia on April 20, 1903 and they had two children, Sarah Arndt Morris and Edward Shippen Morris. He died in Philadelphia on November 23, 1945.

Source: From the finding aid for MC214

  • Roland S. Morris Papers. 1855-1988 (inclusive), 1915-1929 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC214

    Roland S. (Sletor) Morris was a leader of the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania and was the ambassador to Japan from 1917-1921. The Roland S. Morris Papers consist of correspondence, diaries, writings, and other materials that document Morris's family life, political involvement in the Democratic Party, and his position as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 1917-1921.