Warren Atherton

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Warren Atherton
Warren Hendry Atherton

(1891-12-28)December 28, 1891
Died March 7, 1976(1976-03-07) (aged 84)
Stockton, California
Nationality American
Occupation Lawyer
Known for Designer of the G.I. Bill
Title National Commander of
The American Legion
Term 1943 – 1944
Predecessor Roane Waring
Successor Edward N. Scheiberling
Anne Holt Atherton (m. 19171951)
Military career
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Battles/wars World War I

Warren Atherton (born Warren Hendry Atherton; December 28, 1891 – March 7, 1976) was an American lawyer who served as the National Commander of The American Legion from 1943 to 1944. Atherton is widely recognized as a designer of the G.I. Bill, officially known as the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944.[1][2]

Early life

Born in San Francisco, California, Atherton had no formal higher education. Nonetheless, at age 20, he went to work for the Stockton law office of H. R. McNoble in 1911.[1] He served under General Pershing in France during World War I. Upon his return, he married Ann Holt, daughter of the founder of Caterpillar Inc. Benjamin Holt.[1][3] He was admitted to the California State Bar in 1913, and began his career as an attorney, eventually gaining notoriety as a Stockton City judge and local president of the Chamber of Commerce.[3][4] He also worked as the general counsel for the California Department of Veterans Affairs and its preceding boards and commissions from 1935 to 1960. He was consultant to the Secretary of War and envoy to Nelson Rockefeller, Coordinator of International Affairs.[4]

The American Legion

In 1943, as National Commander, Atherton joined Francis Sullivan in drafting the G.I. Bill, suggesting one bill be written that would consolidate the best features of many veteran bills then before Congress.[5][6] At the 1944 American Legion National Convention in Chicago, Atherton presented the Legion's Distinguished Service Medal to Henry Ford II in honor of his grandfather Henry Ford's achievements.

Later life

Atherton was a California Republican, and eventually served as delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1944, 1948, 1952. He also served on the California Board of Prison Terms and Paroles (1935–1937) and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate (1957).[4][3] He died in 1976 and was buried from Morris Chapel at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, where his papers are housed today.[1][4]


  1. ^ a b c d Judge Warren H. Atherton, History of San Joaquin County, California, Los Angeles, Historic Record Co., 1923. p. 1271
  2. ^ "Our Documents - Servicemen's Readjustment Act (1944)".
  3. ^ a b c Register of the Warren H. Atherton Papers, 1891-1976
  4. ^ a b c d "Register of the Warren H. Atherton Papers, 1891-1976".
  5. ^ "Berkeley Daily Gazette - Google News Archive Search".
  6. ^ "Warren H. Atherton to Harry W. Colmery - Kansas Memory".

External links

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Roane Waring
National Commander of The American Legion
1943 – 1944
Succeeded by
Edward N. Scheiberling
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