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Luker, Paul Jacob, 1889-1970



Paul Jacob Luker was born December 17, 1889, in Staunton, Illinois to Henry and Emma Luker. He attended Northwestern University as an undergraduate until being kicked out for his role in the “Sporting Extra” scandal. Luker returned to Northwestern as a law student and earned his Bachelor of Laws from the University in 1914. He later went on to become States Attorney for Illinois amongst other accomplishments. Luker lived with his family in Staunton and practiced law there until his death on December 24, 1970.

Luker graduated from Staunton High School. In September 1908, he moved to Evanston and entered the Northwestern University College of Liberal Arts, planning to study for a degree in Law.

Luker first attended Northwestern University (NU) from September 1908 to May 1911. During this time he was very active in both athletic and social events. Throughout his college career he participated in numerous athletic activities, lettering in football in his freshman year as well as participating on the wrestling team. He was also President of the NU Men's Athletic Association as well as manager of the NU Chess Club. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta, a social fraternity, and elected to Deru, an honorary order for those who excelled in college activities. He was also Law Editor of The Daily Northwestern, in 1910. He was a Y.M.C.A. member in 1910, and 1912.

In May 1911, Luker was dismissed from Northwestern University after it was discovered that he was one of two students who played prominent roles in producing the May 13, 1911“Sporting Extra” edition of the The Daily Northwestern. The unauthorized publication contained “vulgarity and scurrilous attacks on members of the faculty, Dean Holgate and Professor Clark in particular, and on the women students.” The sentence of dismissal was even more severe than expulsion. It meant that the two men could never return to school at NU and were forbidden to visit their fraternity houses in Evanston.

From October, 1911 to June, 1912, Luker attended the Department of Law at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. While at the University of Michigan, Luker continued to be socially and athletically involved. He was active in events for the Department of Law, including dances and banquets. He was also a member of the University of Michigan's Athletic Association.

Despite his dismissal from Northwestern University, Luker applied and was accepted into the Northwestern University School of Law, returning on September 23, 1912. He graduated from the School of Law with a Bachelor of Laws degree on June 10, 1914.

After graduation from Northwestern University, Luker practiced law in Chicago for one year. In the fall of 1916, he opened his own law office in Staunton. He married Margaret Jelleff, also a Northwestern University graduate (School of Music 1917). They had two children, a son and a daughter. Later he served as City Attorney, Township Attorney, States Attorney, and Master of Chancery (a judicial position eliminated in 1970 when the Illinois State Constitution was changed). Luker lived with his family in Staunton and practiced law there until his death on December 24, 1970.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Paul Jacob Luker (1889-1970) Scrapbook

Identifier: 31/6/58

The materials in the Paul Jacob Luker scrapbook date between 1909 and 1916 and document his social and academic life at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan. Included are many newspaper clippings, photographs, dance cards, printed materials, and other memorabilia.

Dates: 1909-1916