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Rachel M. DeForest
Letter to Judge Hannay
Letter to Judge Hannay from Percy Foreman, 1944. Courtesy of the Univeristy of North Texas. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Southern District Seal
Southern District of Texas Seal. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Hannay's Grave
Allen B. Hannay's Grave. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

HANNAY, ALLEN BURROUGHS (1892–1983). Allen Hannay, lawyer and judge, was born in Hempstead, Texas, on February 14, 1892, the son of Robert Edwards and Katherine Donaldson (Allen) Hannay. His father was a United States attorney and served as state attorney in six counties. Hannay finished high school at the age of fifteen, attended Texas A&M, and graduated from the University of Texas law school when he was twenty-one. He became the youngest county judge in the nation at the age of twenty-three. He enlisted in officers' training school as a private in World War I, supervised the Hempstead draft board, and taught beginning pilots military aeronautics. In 1918 he moved to Houston and became a law partner of Maurice Hirsch. In 1930 Hannay was appointed judge of the 113th Civil Court. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him to the federal bench on August 12, 1942, where he served as chief judge of the Southern District from 1954 to 1962. He relinquished this position when required to do so at the age of seventy, but continued presiding over cases. When he died at the age of ninety-one he was the oldest active federal judge in the nation. Hannay's judicial rulings were generally on the conservative side, but he became a favorite of environmental groups when he ruled that Armco Steel Company had to cease polluting the Houston Ship Channel. He was also involved in parts of Muhammed Ali's draft evasion trial (1967). In another case he demonstrated his fairness and commitment to equal rights when he ordered a Channelview school to allow a divorced female student to participate in extracurricular activities. Besides his illustrious judicial career, Hannay was a member of the Houston Buffs, a professional baseball team. He met Frances Johnson in Columbus, Ohio, during World War I. They were married on July 16, 1918, and had two children. Judge Hannay died on October 22, 1983.


Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Who's Who in America, 1946–47.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Rachel M. DeForest, "HANNAY, ALLEN BURROUGHS," accessed June 19, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on February 27, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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