Joseph Simon: Pioneer Jewish Lawyer, State Senator, and U.S. Senator from the State of Oregon

Joseph Simon

U.S. Senator Joseph Simon of Oregon

U.S. Senator Joseph Simon of Oregon

Values Codes I – H – E 


Joseph Simon was born in 1851 in Bechtheim, Hesse, Germany.

His parents were Mr. and Mrs. David Simon, who emigrated to America and settled in Portland Oregon in 1852, when Joseph was one year old.

Joseph Simon was educated in Portland public Schools.

Simon read for the law and passed the Bar in 1872.



From 1877 to 1880, Joseph Simon served on the Portland City Council.

He was elected to the Oregon State Senate, 1880-1881, as a Republican

He returned again, in 1885, and served as President of the State Senate.

Joseph Simon was later elected to the United States Senateserving between 1898 and 1903. He was the fourth Jewish Senator in the U.S.

He served as Chairman of the Committee on Irrigation & Reclamation of Arid Lands.

"Old" Capitol Building, Salem.

“Old” Capitol Building, Salem, OR

Returning to Portland, Simon practiced law at the firm of Dolph, Mallory & Gearin.

From 1909 to 1911, he served as the  36th Mayor of Portland.



Joseph Simon never married.


He died in 1935, and is buried in Portland’s Beth Israel Cemetery.

New State Capital in Salem, Oregon, Vintage Postcard

New State Capital in Salem, Oregon, completed in 1938, vintage postcard













  • Howard M.Corning, Dictionary of Oregon History (Hillsboro, OR: Binford & Mort Publishing, 1989).
  • Political Graveyard,

Gladys Sturman is curator for this Joseph Simon exhibit.

Thanks to Tim Askin for corrections & updates.