William B. Hartsfield

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William B. Hartsfield
William B. Hartsfield 1961.jpg
Hartsfield in 1961
49th & 51st Mayor of Atlanta
In office
Preceded by George B. Lyle Acting
Succeeded by Ivan Allen, Jr.
In office
Preceded by James L. Key
Succeeded by Roy LeCraw
Personal details
Born William Berry Hartsfield
March 1, 1890
Atlanta, Georgia

February 22, 1971 (aged

Manhattan, New York City, New York
Political party Democratic

(1) Pearl Williams Hartsfield (married 1913-1962, divorced)

(2) Tollie Bedenbaugh Tolan Hartsfield

William B. Hartsfield, Jr.
Mildred Hartsfield

Carl Tolan Hartsfield (adopted)

William Berry Hartsfield, Sr. (March 1, 1890 – February 22, 1971), was an American politician who served as the 49th and 51st Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. His tenure extended from 1937 to 1941 and again from 1942 to 1962, making him the longest-serving mayor of his native Atlanta, Georgia.

Hartsfield is credited with developing Atlanta's airport into a national aviation center and ensuring a good water supply with the completion of the Buford Dam. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is named in Hartsfield's honor as well as a later mayor, Maynard Jackson, who led the modernization of the airport in the 1970s.

Hartsfield was also responsible for fostering Atlanta's image as "the city too busy to hate" during the civil rights struggles of the 1950s. In 1957, he won election to his last term as mayor by defeating the staunch segregationist and future Governor Lester Maddox.

Willie B., a gorilla that became a popular attraction at Zoo Atlanta for decades, was named for Hartsfield.

Hartsfield was also a strong activist to permit unathletic children to play sports. Hartsfield also received an honorary degree in Doctor of Laws from Oglethorpe University in 1961.[1]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Honorary Degrees Awarded by Oglethorpe University". Oglethorpe University. Retrieved 2015-03-13. 
  • William Berry Hartsfield (1978), Harold H. Martin, Latin Corp
  • Charlie Brown Remembers Atlanta (1982), Charles M. Brown, R. L. Bryan Company
  • Williams, Louis. 2002. "William B. Hartsfield (1890-1971)". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Georgia Humanities Council. [1]
Preceded by
James L. Key
Mayor of Atlanta
Succeeded by
Roy LeCraw
Preceded by
George B. Lyle (acting)
Mayor of Atlanta
Succeeded by
Ivan Allen, Jr.