Courts in the Classroom
Supreme Court of Indiana
Division of State Court Administration
30 S. Meridian Street, Ste 500
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Dr. Elizabeth R. Osborn
Court History and
Public Education Programs
History Project Award
from the National Council
on Public History
Justice Swaim was born November 30, 1890, in Zionsville, Indiana, and died July 30, 1957, in Indianapolis.527
He attended Zionsville High School, graduated from DePauw University in 1913, and received a law degree cum laude from the University of Chicago in 1916.528 He joined the U.S. Army in 1917, reaching the rank of first lieutenant with the 87th and the 88th Infantry Divisions.529
He began legal practice in 1916 in Indianapolis. In the early 1930s, he became active in Democratic politics, serving as Marion County Democratic Chairman from 1930 to 1934, 12th District Chairman from 1936 to 1938, and Indianapolis City Controller from 1937 to 1938. In 1938, he was elected to the Indiana Supreme Court on the Democratic ticket. He served on the Indiana Supreme Court from January 1, 1939 to January 1, 1945.530
In 1949, President Truman appointed him to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, where he served until his death.531
527. Ailing U.S. Judge Swaim Dies at Home, INDIANAPOLIS TIMES, July 30, 1957, at 1,
reprinted in 49 INDIANA BIOGRAPHY SERIES, supra note 2, at 1; In Memoriam, 236 INDIANA
REPORTS xlviii, xlviii (1956) [hereinafter Swaim Memoriam]; WHO'S WHO 2704 (Marquis, 30th
528. Swaim Memoriam, supra note 527, at xlvii-L.
530. Id.; Ailing U.S. Judge Swaim Dies at Home, INDIANAPOLIS TIMES, July 30, 1957, at 1,
reprinted in 49 INDIANA BIOGRAPHY SERIES, supra note 2, at 1.
531. H. Nathan Swaim, U.S. Judge, Dies in Home at Age 66, reprinted in 60 INDIANA
BIOGRAPHY SERIES, supra note 2, at 19.
Source: Browning, Minde C., Richard Humphrey, and Bruce Kleinschmidt. "Biographical Sketches of Indiana Supreme Court Justices." Indiana Law Review: Vol. 30, No. 1, 1997. View this source in PDF format.