Hartsfield, William Berry

Variant names

Hide Profile

William Berry Hartsfield (1890-1971) served as Mayor of Atlanta 1937-1962. He served on the Atlanta City Council from 1923-1928 and represented Fulton County in the state legislature. Hartsfield was Mayor of Atlanta in 1939 when the city hosted the premiere of Gone With the Wind, the movie based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell (Marsh). The film Gone With the Wind, based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell (Marsh), premiered in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 15, 1939.

From the description of William Hartsfield Gone With the Wind Premiere Film, 1939. (Atlanta History Center). WorldCat record id: 714159465

William Berry Hartsfield (March 1, 1890-February 22, 1971), attorney, politician, and mayor of Atlanta was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Charles Green Hartsfield, a tinsmith, and Victoria Dagnall Hartsfield. He married Pearl Williams on August 2, 1913 and they had two children, William Berry Hartsfield, Jr. and Mildred Hartsfield Cheshire. They divorced after forty-eight years of marriage and Hartsfield married Tollie Tolan on July 11, 1962. He later adopted her son, Carl. Hartsfield attended Boys High School in Atlanta and found employment as a clerk for the General Fire Extinguisher Company. In 1916, while working as a clerk for the legal firm of Rosser, Slaton, Phillips, and Hopkins, he began reading law. His formal education was completed in 1937, when the Atlanta Law School awarded him a Bachelor of Law degree. Hartsfield was admitted to the Georgia Bar in 1917 and established a practice in Atlanta. His first entrance into the political arena came in 1923, with his election to the City Council of Atlanta. He remained a council member until 1928. During this time, he served on the municipal airport committee and helped arrange the purchase of Candler Field as the site for the city's first municipal airport. The Hartsfield International Airport is named in his honor. From 1933 to 1937, Hartsfield served as a Fulton County Representative to the Georgia Legislature. In 1936, he defeated incumbent Mayor James L. Key in the first of the seven mayoral elections he entered. With the exception of an eighteen-month period in 1941-1942, Hartsfield served as the city's chief administrator continuously from 1937 to 1962.

From the description of William Berry Hartsfield papers, circa 1860-1983 (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 173863342

William B. Hartsfield was a man of humble origins who became one of the greatest mayors of Atlanta. He served as mayor for six terms (1937-41, 1942-61), longer than any other person in the city's history. Hartsfield held office during a critical period when the color line separating the races began to change and the city grew from more than 100,000 inhabitants to a metropolitan population of one million. He is credited with developing Atlanta into the aviation powerhouse that it is today and with building its image as "the City Too Busy to Hate." The youngest of three sons, William Berry Hartsfield was born March 1, 1890, to Charles Green Hartsfield and Victoria Dagnall Hartsfield in Atlanta. He was educated in the Atlanta public school system but did not finish high school or attend college. He married Pearl Williams on August 2, 1913. They had two children, William Berry Jr. and Mildred. In 1962, after nearly fifty years of marriage, they divorced. On July 11, 1962, Hartsfield married Tollie Bedenbaugh Tolan of Athens, and he later adopted her son, Carl. At the age of twenty-five, Hartsfield became the secretary and law clerk at the law firm of Rosser, Slaton, Phillips, and Hopkins. He worked in the law offices during the day and read legal journals and books at night. His studies paid off when he was admitted to the Georgia Bar on July 7, 1917. In 1921 he left the firm and opened his own law office. Hartsfield was elected to the Atlanta City Council in 1922. As an alderman, he helped establish Atlanta's first airport, advancing the goal of the city to become the aviation hub of the Southeast. As a member of a subcommittee of the finance committee, he played a prominent role in the selection of Candler Speedway's 287 acres south of Atlanta near Hapeville for a landing field for airplanes. The city leased the Candler site in 1925. Hartsfield believed that Atlanta's future lay in air transportation and took the lead in promoting it throughout his political career. In 1936 Hartsfield defeated the aging incumbent mayor, James L. Key. When Hartsfield took office in January 1937, Atlanta was in poor financial condition. To boost the city out of this crisis, he called on the downtown business leaders, including Robert Woodruff, president of the Coca-Cola Company, for assistance. Woodruff absorbed the full amount of the December 1936 city payroll. Hartsfield also persuaded the Georgia General Assembly to establish a model budget system. The new system would not let the city budget exceed more than 99 percent of the receipts of the previous year. Because the city council did not allocate more than 95 percent of those receipts, the city had a cash carryover each year. By the close of 1938, the city gradually began to recover from effects of the depression. On September 4, 1940, Hartsfield was defeated by Roy Le Craw. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Mayor Le Craw, a major in the Georgia National Guard, resigned his office and reported for active duty. Hartsfield won a May 27, 1942, special election and remained in office until 1961, winning election for four more terms. Hartsfield continued his policy of fiscal restraint and guided the city through World War II (1941-45). In 1946, with the outlawing of the Georgia white primary and the opening of the electoral system to black political participation, Hartsfield developed a gradualist approach to race relations by building a biracial coalition for winning municipal elections. The strategy proved to be very useful as the city experienced the beginning of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and the racial unrest of the early 1960s. The nation experienced racial turmoil when Virginia, Little Rock, Arkansas, and New Orleans, Louisiana, attempted school desegregation, and Atlanta under Hartsfield calmly waited its turn. On August 30, 1961, the city peacefully integrated its public schools. As a result, Atlanta began to acquire its reputation as "A City Too Busy to Hate." On December 31, 1951, Hartsfield was elected vice president of the American Municipal Association, the national organization of mayors, and later served as its president. In 1952 he led the campaign to win passage of the Plan of Improvement that promoted the annexation of suburban territory. Atlanta tripled in size from 37 to 128 square miles, which added an estimated 100,000 people to the city's population. Hartsfield also oversaw the building of the expressway system and the construction of several city parks. After more than thirty years of public service, on June 7, 1961, Hartsfield announced he would not seek reelection. Following his retirement, he was named mayor emeritus of Atlanta. He became a consultant for the Coca-Cola Company, the Trust Company of Georgia, and the Georgia Power Company. For a brief time he was also an editorial commentator on WSB television. In 1962 he was chosen president of the Southeastern Fair Association. Hartsfield died on February 22, 1971. A week later, the Atlanta City Council honored him by renaming the Atlanta airport the William B. Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport (later Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport). New Georgia Encyclopedia - William B. Hartsfield (1890-1971) http://www.newgeorgiaencyclopedia.com (Retrieved October 21, 2009)

From the description of William B. Hartsfield collection, 1893-1981. (University of Georgia). WorldCat record id: 472467793

Lawyer and mayor, of Atlanta, Ga.; b. 1890; d. 1971.

From the description of Papers, 1892-1980. (Emory University). WorldCat record id: 28418469

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Barker, Mary Cornelia, 1879-1963. Mary Cornelia Baker papers, 1912-1971. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
referencedIn Nelson, Jack,. Jack Nelson oral history interview, 1993 Oct. 30. Georgia State University
referencedIn Sibley, Celestine,. Celestine Sibley oral history interview, 1987 Mar. 5. Georgia State University
referencedIn Thompson, Robert A. (Robert Albert), 1910-. Robert A. Thompson oral history interview, 1989 June 5. Georgia State University
referencedIn Rich, Richard H., 1901-1975. Papers, 1902-1981. Emory University, Robert W. Woodruff Library
referencedIn Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Atlanta Chamber of Commerce photographs : Events and People, 1953-1991. Atlanta History Center, Kenan Research Center / Cherokee Garden Library
referencedIn Atlanta (Ga.). City of Atlanta records, 1848-2004, undated. Atlanta History Center, Kenan Research Center / Cherokee Garden Library
referencedIn Lokey, Hamilton, 1910-1996,. Hamilton and Muriel Lokey oral history interview, 1989 Jan. 26. Georgia State University
referencedIn Atlanta Urban League. Executive Director Grace Towns Hamilton administrative files, 1942-1961, 1967. Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library
referencedIn Raoul family. Raoul family papers, 1865-1982 (bulk 1880-1920). Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
referencedIn Bullard, Helen, 1908-1979,. Helen Bullard oral history interview, 1977 July 25. Georgia State University
referencedIn Camp, Thomas L. (Thomas Lee), 1905-. Thomas L. Camp oral history interview, 1993 Dec. 6. Georgia State University
referencedIn Rainey, Dorothy Quattlebaum,. Dorothy Rainey oral history interview, 1977 Nov. 8. Georgia State University
referencedIn Wilson, Bill (William Bryan), 1914-1993. Bill Wilson photographs : People, 1938-1984, undated Atlanta History Center, Kenan Research Center / Cherokee Garden Library
referencedIn Atlanta Airport/Hanger One collection, 1920-1980. Atlanta History Center, Kenan Research Center / Cherokee Garden Library
referencedIn Daniel, Frank, 1900-1981. Frank Daniel papers, 1914-1973. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
creatorOf Hartsfield, William Berry. William Hartsfield Gone With the Wind Premiere Film, 1939. Atlanta History Center, Kenan Research Center / Cherokee Garden Library
referencedIn Atlanta Woman of the Year scrapbook, 1955. University of Georgia, University of Georgia, Main Library
referencedIn Maloof, Manuel,. Manuel Maloof oral history interviews, 1994 June 13 and 15. Georgia State University
referencedIn Allen Family. Allen family photographs : Family members and friends, 1840-1985, undated. Atlanta History Center, Kenan Research Center / Cherokee Garden Library
creatorOf Hartsfield, William Berry. William Berry Hartsfield papers, circa 1860-1983 Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
referencedIn Jackson, Graham Washington, 1903-1983. Graham Washington Jackson, Sr. papers, 1923-1985. Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, Central Library
referencedIn Rich, Richard H., 1901-1975. Richard H. Rich papers, 1902-1981. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
referencedIn Goodwin, George,. George Goodwin oral history interview, 1992 Jan. 17. Georgia State University
referencedIn Arnall, Ellis Gibbs, 1907-1992,. Ellis Gibbs Arnall oral history interview, 1977 July 27. Georgia State University
referencedIn Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers (Atlanta, Ga.). Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers photographic collection. Portraits, 1925-1974 (bulk 1939-1971). Georgia State University
referencedIn Hamilton, Grace Towns, 1907-. Grace Towns Hamilton oral history interview, 1986 June 26. Georgia State University
referencedIn McTyre, Joe. Joe McTyre Photograph Collection : Collected Images, 1889-1985, undated. Atlanta History Center, Kenan Research Center / Cherokee Garden Library
referencedIn Pilcher, Crawford, 1908-. Crawford Pilcher oral history interview, 1993 Feb. 23. Georgia State University
referencedIn Williams, Osgood, 1913-. Osgood Williams oral history interview, 1988 May 12. Georgia State University
referencedIn Tarver, Jack (Jackson Williams), 1917-1999. Jack Tarver research collection, 1955-1969. Georgia State University
referencedIn Lokey, Hamilton, 1910-1996,. Hamilton and Muriel Lokey oral history interview, 1989 Jan. 26. Georgia State University
creatorOf Hartsfield, William Berry. William B. Hartsfield collection, 1893-1981. University of Georgia, University of Georgia, Main Library
referencedIn Maddox, Lester, 1915-2003,. Lester Maddox oral history interviews, November 22, 1988 and July 26, 1989. Georgia State University
referencedIn S. Ernest Vandiver oral history interview, January 25, 1994 Georgia State University
referencedIn Allen family. Allen family papers, 1899-2004, undated. Atlanta History Center, Kenan Research Center / Cherokee Garden Library
referencedIn Pauley, Frances F. (Frances Emma Freeborn), b. 1902,. Frances F. Pauley oral history interviews, 1988 Apr. 11 and May 3. Georgia State University
referencedIn Martin, Harold H. Harold H. Martin papers, 1837-1977. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
referencedIn Rainey, Glenn W. (Glenn Weddington), 1907-1988,. Glen Rainey oral history interview, 1977 Nov. 8. Georgia State University
referencedIn Seydell, Mildred, 1889-1988. Mildred Seydell papers, 1842-1978. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
referencedIn Atlanta Urban League. Atlanta Urban League photographs, 1942-1989 (bulk 1942-1964). Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library
referencedIn Abram, Morris B.,. Morris B. Abram oral history interview, 1978 Jan. 4. Georgia State University
referencedIn Alverson, Luther A., 1907-. Luther A. Alverson oral history interview, 1990 Oct. 11, Oct. 22. Georgia State University
referencedIn Southern Regional Council. Organizations Assisting Schools in September files, 1955-1962. Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library
referencedIn McTyre, Joe. Joe McTyre Photograph Collection : Joe McTyre Photographs, 1964-1975, undated. Atlanta History Center, Kenan Research Center / Cherokee Garden Library
referencedIn Atlanta Urban League. Housing Dept. Housing Dept. correspondence and administrative files, 1942-1977. Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library
creatorOf Hartsfield, William Berry. Papers, 1892-1980. Emory University, Robert W. Woodruff Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Abram, Morris B., person
associatedWith Allen family. family
associatedWith Allen Family. family
associatedWith Allen, Ivan. person
associatedWith Alverson, Luther A., 1907- person
associatedWith Arnall, Ellis Gibbs, 1907-1992, person
associatedWith Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. corporateBody
associatedWith Atlanta Cyclorama (Atlanta, Ga.) corporateBody
associatedWith Atlanta (Ga.) corporateBody
associatedWith Atlanta (Ga.). Mayor. corporateBody
associatedWith Atlanta Municipal Airport (Atlanta, Ga.) corporateBody
associatedWith Atlanta Municipal Auditorium (Atlanta, Ga.) corporateBody
associatedWith Atlanta Urban League. corporateBody
associatedWith Atlanta Urban League. Housing Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Barker, Mary Cornelia, 1879-1963. person
associatedWith Bullard, Helen, 1908-1979. person
associatedWith Camp, Thomas L. (Thomas Lee), 1905- person
associatedWith Daniel, Frank, 1900-1981. person
associatedWith De Havilland, Olivia. person
associatedWith Gable, Clark, 1901-1960. person
associatedWith Goodwin, George, person
associatedWith Hamilton, Grace Towns, 1907- person
associatedWith Howell, Clark 1894-1966. person
associatedWith Jackson, Graham Washington, 1903-1983. person
associatedWith Jones, Bobby, 1902-1971. person
associatedWith Keyes, Evelyn, 1916-2008. person
associatedWith Kyser, Kay. person
associatedWith Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers (Atlanta, Ga.) corporateBody
associatedWith Leigh, Vivien, 1913-1967. person
associatedWith Loew's Grand Theatre (Atlanta, Ga.) corporateBody
associatedWith Lokey, Hamilton, 1910-1996, person
associatedWith Lombard, Carole, 1908-1942. person
associatedWith Maddox, Lester, 1915-2003. person
associatedWith Maloof, Manuel, person
associatedWith Martin, Harold H. person
associatedWith McAdoo, W. G. (William Gibbs), 1863-1941. person
associatedWith McGill, Ralph, 1898-1969. person
associatedWith McTyre, Joe. person
associatedWith Nelson, Jack, person
associatedWith Pauley, Frances F. (Frances Emma Freeborn), b. 1902, person
associatedWith Pilcher, Crawford, 1908- person
associatedWith Rainey, Dorothy Quattlebaum, person
associatedWith Rainey, Glenn W. (Glenn Weddington), 1907-1988, person
associatedWith Raoul family. family
associatedWith Rich, Richard H., 1901-1975. person
associatedWith Robert, Lawrence Wood, 1889-1976. person
associatedWith Russell, Richard B. (Richard Brevard), 1897-1971. person
associatedWith Selznick, David O., 1902-1965. person
associatedWith Seydell, Mildred, 1889-1988. person
associatedWith Sibley, Celestine, person
associatedWith Southern Regional Council. corporateBody
associatedWith Southern Talc Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Talmadge, Herman E. (Herman Eugene), 1913-2002. person
associatedWith Tarver, Jack (Jackson Williams), 1917-1999. person
associatedWith Thompson, Robert A. (Robert Albert), 1910- person
associatedWith Vandiver, S. Ernest (Samuel Ernest), 1918- person
associatedWith William B. Hartsfield-Atlanta International Airport corporateBody
associatedWith Williams, Osgood, 1913- person
associatedWith Wilson, Bill (William Bryan), 1914-1993 family
associatedWith Woodruff, Robert Winship. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Buford Dam (Ga.)
Georgia--Atlanta
Chattahoochee River
United States
Georgia
Atlanta (Ga.)
Georgia
Georgia
Atlanta (Ga.)
Atlanta (Ga.)
Georgia--Atlanta
Atlanta (Ga.)
Subject
Dams
Central business districts
Motion pictures
Dams--Design and construction
Municipal water supply
Water-supply
Municipal government
Water--Fluoridation
Talc industry
Elections
Mines and Mineral Resources
Race relations
Aeronautics, Commercial
Campaign paraphernalia
Rivers
Practice of law
Actresses
Mayor
Occupation
Mayors--Georgia
Businessmen--Georgia
Lawyers--Georgia
Function

Person

Death 1971

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6c53vbx

Ark ID: w6c53vbx

SNAC ID: 25802478