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Frank L. Hagaman

Frank HagamanPolitician, governor. Republican. Born: June 1, 1894, Bushnell, Illinois. Died: June 23, 1966, Kansas City. Served as 31st Governor of Kansas: November 28, 1950, to January 8, 1951.

Frank Leslie Hagaman was born in Bushnell, Illinois, on June 1, 1894 to Frank and Hattie Hagaman. The family moved first to Kansas City, Missouri, and later to Rosedale near Kansas City, Kansas. After graduating from Rosedale High School Hagaman worked as a shipping clerk, later attending the University of Kansas. During World War I Hagaman served in the 117th Kansas Ammunition Train. While on duty he was severely wounded, for which he later received a Purple Heart and a special citation during an awards ceremony at Fort Riley, Kansas. Afterwards he received an education in law at the George Washington University Law School, in Washington, D. C. in 1921.

Hagaman married Elizabeth Sutton in 1920. They acquired a 620 acre ranch near Russell, Kansas. He established his law practice in Wyandotte County, where he worked as the assistant county assessor. Hagaman campaigned as a Republican and was elected to be the Johnson County representative to the state legislature, first in 1939, and was re-elected two more times. He strongly and consistently supported rural zoning legislation to improve rural living conditions, and for restoration of the old Shawnee Mission.

In 1948 Hagaman was elected Kansas lieutenant governor and as such, was the leading statesman in the senate as well as the chairman of the legislative council. When Governor Frank Carlson replaced Senator Harry Darby in the U.S. Senate, Hagaman became governor. His swearing in ceremony lasted only 14 minutes, and in fact, his term in office lasted only 41 days.

Hagaman was a caretaker in office at a time when the legislature was not in session. He concentrated almost exclusively on the budget. Hagaman lost the party nomination in the primary election to Edward Arn. In an unprecedented move Governor Hagaman invited Governor-elect Arn to budget hearings. Hagaman returned to his law practice in Fairway. His subsequent legal career took him to courts in Kansas, Missouri, and the U. S. Supreme Court.

Having a personal interest in ornithology, Hagaman served as president of the Missouri Audubon Society, which has members in both Kansas as well as Missouri, and was headquartered just a few miles from his home.

Hagaman died in a hospital in Kansas City, on June 23, 1966, and is buried in Denver, Colorado.

Entry: Hagaman, Frank L.

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2011

Date Modified: December 2017

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.