Hugh M. Dorsey
|Hugh M. Dorsey|
|62nd Governor of Georgia|
June 30, 1917 – June 25, 1921
|Preceded by||Nathaniel E. Harris|
|Succeeded by||Thomas W. Hardwick|
July 10, 1871|
|Died||June 11, 1948(aged 76)|
|Resting place||Westview Cemetery|
|Alma mater||University of Georgia|
Hugh Manson Dorsey (July 10, 1871 – June 11, 1948) was an American lawyer who was notable as the prosecuting attorney in the Leo Frank trial of 1913. He was also a politician, a member of the Democratic Party who was twice elected as the Governor of Georgia (1917–1921), and jurist, who served for more than a decade as a superior court judge (1935–1948) in Atlanta.
Early life and education
Hugh M. Dorsey was born in Fayetteville, Georgia in 1871. At the age of 8, he moved with his family in 1879 to Atlanta, which was growing rapidly and had more economic opportunity. His father was an attorney there.
Marriage and family
Dorsey married Adair Wilkinson and had two children. Dorsey's sister, Sarah, married Luther Rosser Jr., son of attorney Luther Rosser, who was chief counsel defending Leo Frank at trial and subsequent appeals.
After working for several years with his father, in 1910 Dorsey was appointed solicitor general of the Atlanta Judicial Circuit. He was a member of the Democratic Party, as were most established Whites in the South after Reconstruction. In 1913, Dorsey was prosecuting attorney (serving as the solicitor general of the Fulton County Superior Court) at the trial of Leo Frank, who was indicted for the murder of young factory worker Mary Phagan. Achieving conviction amid intense media coverage, Dorsey became famous. Frank, a Jewish northerner from Brooklyn, was eventually lynched by a mob two months after Governor John Slaton commuted his death sentence to life in prison.
In popular culture
Over the decades, the dramatic story of Frank's trial and lynching (after his death sentence was commuted) was adapted into many forms. He is seen in the 1964 fiction Profiles in Courage and 1988 TV-miniseries The Murder of Mary Phagan, where Dorsey was portrayed by the actor Richard Jordan.
- Stallings, Patricia. "Hugh M. Dorsey (1871-1948)". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- "June 11", This Day in Georgia History, Georgia Info, compiled by Ed Jackson and Charles Pou, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, Digital Library of Georgia, accessed Jul 20, 2010
- Oney 2003, p. 616.
- "Georgia Governor Hugh Manson Dorsey". National Governors Association. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- Oney 2003, p. 92.
Oney, Steve. And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank. Pantheon Books, 2003.
- Arguments of Hugh M. Dorsey in the 1913 Leo Frank Murder Trial Some of Solicitor General Hugh Manson Dorsey's nine hours of closing arguments made on Aug. 22, 23 and 25, 1913 in the Atlanta Judicial Circuit. Held at Internet Archive in Adobe PDF format, 146 pages.
- Georgia State Archives Roster of State Governors[dead link]
- Georgia Governor's Gravesites Field Guide (1776–2003)[dead link]
- Georgia Historical Marker for Hugh Dorsey[dead link]
- Hugh Manson Dorsey at Find a Grave
Nathaniel E. Harris
|Governor of Georgia
Thomas W. Hardwick