Member Biography

Herbert Arlene Sr.

Sessions Office Position District Party
1967       3 Democrat
1968       3 Democrat
1969       3 Democrat
1970       3 Democrat
1971       3 Democrat
1972       3 Democrat
1973       3 Democrat
1974       3 Democrat
1975       3 Democrat
1976       3 Democrat
1977       3 Democrat
1978       3 Democrat
1979       3 Democrat
1980       3 Democrat

COUNTIES: Philadelphia  


09/05/1917 - 11/09/1989

Herbert Arlene, Sr. (D3) Philadelphia (Part) County 1967-1980

Early Life: 

Herbert Arlene, Sr., born September 5, 1914, Harrison, Washington County, Georgia; son of Elbert and Mattie King Arlene; educated, Harrison public schools; Philadelphia Business School; Miller College, honorary L.L.D; owner, Arlene’s Tailor Shop; chairman, county committeeman, 47th Ward Democratic Committee; elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1959-1966; elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate 1967-1980; appointed, Special Committee to Study the Public Employee Relations Act of 1970, 1973; married, Emma Davis, 1934 (d. 1975), children, Herbert Jr., Clara Banks; died, November 9, 1989, city of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; interment, Rolling Green Cemetery, West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Burial information not verified.

Early Career:

Philadelphia Naval Shipyards; owner, Wigfall and Arlene’s Tailor Shop, then Arlene’s Tailor Shop, corner of Jefferson and Opal Streets Philadelphia. 

Professional titles; business ownership; board memberships; local government; club memberships:

Member, African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church; Philadelphia Chapter, Urban League; Peoples Neighborhood Medical Center; board of trustees, Lincoln University; board of directors, Greater Philadelphia Development Corporation; board member, Wharton Neighborhood Community Center; member, Model Cities Neighborhood Council 15; Young Men’s Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.), North Central Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; North Central Community Organization; Temple Mental Health Retardation Center; Berean Institute; Philadelphia Athletic League; Hospital Authority of Philadelphia.  

Member, Odd Fellows; Elks; Prince Hall Masonic Order; 33rd degree Mason; Pyramid Temple Number 1; Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles Mystic Shrine (AEAONMS).   

Pennsylvania Politics:

Chairman and county committeeman, 47th Ward Democratic Committee, Philadelphia. 

Elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1959-1966. 

Elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 3rd district, Philadelphia (Part) County, 1967-1980; appointed, Special Committee to Study the Public Employee Relations Act of 1970, 1973; committee assignments, Appropriations, Insurance, Labor and Industry (Chairman), Public Health and Welfare, Rules and Executive Nominations, Urban Affairs and Housing (Vice Chairman). 

Pennsylvania House of Representatives Biography:

Official Website - PA House Archives Official Website ( 


On November 8, 1966, became first African American elected, Pennsylvania State Senate, in the history of this Commonwealth. 

Herbert Arlene, Sr. Housing Project, located, 16th and Jefferson Street, Philadelphia. 


Cox, Harold. Senate Members "A" ( Wilkes University Election Statistics ProjectWilkes University.

The Pennsylvania Manual, Ackley, G. (Editor). Arcuri, P. (Editor). (1979-1980). (Volume 104). Department of General Services. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, page 87. Biographies of Members of the Senate, page 63. 

Philadelphia Daily News (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Thursday February 25, 1993, Page 35. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Saturday, November 11, 1989, Page 57.

Converted from D:\PCLTrans\Out\SR0116P1704.PCL (