Supreme Court

Former justices

John B. Winslow (1851-1920)

John B. Winslow

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice (1891-1920)
Chief Justice (1907-1920)

"The [legal] profession is overrun with money-makers, who regard it only as a business by which money is made, with little or no thought of the quality of the means used. We greatly need many more lawyers who regard the profession as a ministry in the temple of Justice..." -Chief Justice John B. Winslow (1912)

John Bradley Winslow was born 0ctober 4, 1851, to parents of colonial ancestry. After living in New York and Ohio, his family moved to Racine, Wisconsin, where his father ran a bookstore for 25 years.

In 1871, Winslow received a bachelor's degree from Racine College and later joined its faculty as an instructor of Greek. Winslow graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1875.

He served as Racine city attorney for three years. In 1883, Winslow, age 32, was elected a circuit court judge for Racine, Kenosha and Walworth Counties. He served in this capacity until elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1891.

Winslow served on the Supreme Court for 29 years, the last 13 years as the chief justice. During his tenure, he participated in approximately 10,000 cases appearing in nearly 92 volumes of the Wisconsin Reports. He served for many years as president of the American Institute of Criminology.

Winslow also taught at the University of Wisconsin Law School. A faculty member noted: "Winslow believed that as the law touches every human interest, lawyers should be trained in economics, history, the philosophy of law and particularly in a knowledge of other systems of law, such as the Roman law which governs more than half the civilized globe."

In 1912, Winslow completed the book, The Story of a Great Court. At first, he intended to write a brief history of the Supreme Court. However, he found that the younger members of the bar lacked an understanding of the "remarkable men who sat upon the supreme court in the early years of the state...." His paper turned into more than 400 pages of rich text on the history of Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Winslow and his wife Agnes Clancy had two sons and four daughters. He died July 13, 1920.

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