Henry Dilworth Gilpin was born in Lancaster, England, on April 14, 1801. He attended school near London from 1811 till 1816. After moving to the United States, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1819. He read law with Joseph R. Ingersoll, and was admitted to the bar in 1822. Gilpin was appointed United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 1831 and Solicitor of the United States Treasury in 1837. He was appointed Attorney General of the United States on January 11, 1840, by President Van Buren and served until March of 1841. Gilpin died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 29, 1860.