American lawyer; born in Philadelphia July 23, 1839; died in New York Sept. 22, 1901. He was educated in the public schools of his native city, and studied at the universities of Heidelberg (Germany) and Pennsylvania, being graduated from the latter institution in 1859. In the following year he was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia and New York, and opened a law-office in the latter city. He soon succeeded in building up a large practise, making a specialty of constitutional law and of laws relating to railroads. He was counsel for the Interstate Commerce Commission in many well-known cases, and upon the request of the United States Senate Committee on Railways he drafted the Interstate Commerce Act. He represented the city of New York in a suit with the New York Central Railroad Company concerning certain improvements in Fourth avenue, New York, and at the time of his death he was the legal representative of many large corporations, among which may be mentioned the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad Company.
Sterne took great interest in public affairs. He was a member of the executive committee of the Free Trade Union, and a lecturer on political economy in Cooper Union (1861-63). As secretary of the "Committee of Seventy" in 1870 and 1871, he helped to overthrow the Tweed ring, and in 1894 he was a member of the committee that succeeded in electing Strong as anti-Tammany candidate for the mayoralty. He was also a member ofthe commission appointed (1875) by Governor Tilden to devise plans for the government of the cities of New York state; in 1894 he was appointed by President Cleveland a commissioner to report on "the relation of railways and state in western Europe"; and in 1896 he was a member of the commission appointed by Governor Morton to recommend changes in methods of State-administration.
During 1863-64 Sterne was editor of the "Commercial Advertiser" in New York city, and in the following year he published the "Social Science Review." He was a voluminous writer on political and historical subjects, the following being among his principal works: "Representative Government," 1871; "Development of Political and Constitutional History of the United States," 1882; "Introduction to Mongredien's Wealth Creation," 1883. To Lalor's "Cyclopedia of Political Science and United States History" he contributed articles on "Administration of American Cities," "Legislation," "Monopolies," "Railways," and "Representation"; and he wrote also many articles and essays for American and foreign publications.
- Who's Who in America, 1901-2: obituaries in The New York Times, Sept. 23, 1901, and Jewish Messenger, Sept. 27, 1901;
- Foord, The Life and Public Services of Simon Sterne, London, 1903.