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Luther Hartwell Hodges
North Carolina

Gov. Luther Hartwell Hodges

  • November 7, 1954 - January 5, 1961
  • Democratic
  • March 9, 1898
  • October 6, 1974
  • Virginia
  • University of North Carolina
  • Married twice—Martha Elizabeth Blakeney, Louise B. Finlayson; three children
  • Succeeded
  • Cabinet secretary


LUTHER H. HODGES, the sixty-fourth governor of North Carolina, was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia on March 9, 1898. His education was attained at the University of North Carolina, where he graduated in 1919. He established a successful business career with the Marshall Fields Mills. He started out working as a secretary to the manager, and eventually became vice president of manufacturing. He also served on several commissions including, the State Vocational Education Board (1929 to 1933) as well as serving on the State Highway Commission (1933 to 1937). He served as director of the textile division of the Office of Price Administration in 1944; was the special consultant to the secretary of agriculture in 1945; and he chaired the 1948 International Convention. Hodges first entered politics as the lieutenant governor of North Carolina, a position he held from 1953 to 1954. On November 7, 1954 Governor William B. Umstead died in office, and Hodges, who was the lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. He went on to win a term of own in 1956. During his tenure, industrial development was promoted; a textile mill strike was dealt with; a selective school integration plan was initiated; and a minimum wage bill was authorized. After leaving the governorship, Hodges secured an appointment to serve in President Kennedy’s cabinet as Secretary of Commerce, a post he held from 1961 to 1965. He later served as board chairman of the Research Triangle Foundation, as well as serving as the president of the Rotary International in 1967. Governor Luther H. Hodges passed away on October 6, 1974, and was buried in the Overlook Cemetery in Eden, North Carolina.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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