Telfair Hodgson

Telfair Hodgson (March 14, 1840 – September 11, 1893) was an American Episcopal priest and academic administrator. He was the dean of the Theological Department at Sewanee: The University of the South from 1878 to 1893, and vice chancellor from 1879 to 1890. He was a co-founder and the managing editor of The Sewanee Review.

Telfair Hodgson
Telfair Hodgson.jpg
Born(1840-03-14)March 14, 1840
DiedSeptember 11, 1893(1893-09-11) (aged 53)
Alma materPrinceton University
General Theological Seminary
OccupationEpiscopal priest, academic administrator
Spouse(s)Frances Glen Potter
Children2 sons (including Telfair Hodgson Jr.), 1 daughter
RelativesBenjamin F. Cheatham (daughter-in-law's father)
Military career
Allegiance Confederate States of America (1861–1865)
Service/branchConfederate States Army
Years of service1861–1865
Signature of Telfair Hodgson (1840–1893).png

Early lifeEdit

Telfair Hodgson was born on March 14, 1840 in Columbia, Virginia.[1] He attended Princeton University, where he joined the Kappa Alpha Society and graduated in 1859. He entered the General Theological Seminary in New York City.[1]


At the outbreak of the American Civil War, Hodgson left seminary and enlisted as a private in the 44th Virginia Infantry of the Confederate States Army. He transferred to serve in the 1st Regiment Alabama Infantry, which was led by his brother, Colonel Joseph Hodgson. He was eventually promoted to the staff of General Joseph Wheeler. In 1863 he was ordained as an Episcopal deacon and then as a priest in 1864 in Macon, Georgia, where he served as a chaplain in a hospital.[2][3] A few years after the war, Hodgson went to Europe, where he lived in 1869–1870.[1]

Hogdson worked as a professor of philosophy at the University of Alabama from 1872 to 1873. He was the assistant rector of Christ's Church in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1874, and the rector of Trinity Church in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1874–1878.[1][2][4] Some of his sermons were about the Confederate fallen.[5] In 1876 he gave Sewanee: The University of the South $10,000 to build a library; it was the first building in Sewanee to be constructed of stone.[6]

Theological education had been a growing concern at Sewanee since it began admitting students in 1868, and shortly thereafter it merged with the Sewanee Training and Divinity School. It had no dean of theology until Hodgson was hired as dean in 1878.[7] He served as dean until 1893, and also served as vice chancellor from 1879 to 1890.[1][3] He supported the construction of Thompson Union and Convocation Hall.[3]

When William Peterfield Trent founded The Sewanee Review in 1892, Hodgson became its financial backer and managing editor. He took care of the financial affairs of the journal so that Trent could concentrate on its literary content.[2][8]

Personal life, death and legacyEdit

Hodgson married Frances Glen Potter, the daughter of a slave-owning planter from Savannah, Georgia.[9] They had two sons, Telfair Hodgson Jr. and J. H. P. Hodgson, and a daughter.[1]

Hodgson died on September 11, 1893, in Sewanee, Tennessee.[1][10] His son Telfair Hodgson Jr. was the treasurer of the University of the South from 1908 to 1949.[11]

The Sewanee Review is the oldest continuously published literary quarterly in the United States.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Rev. Telfair Hodgson". The Tennessean. Sewanee. September 12, 1893. p. 6. Retrieved May 13, 2021 – via
  2. ^ a b c "Telfair Hodgson—A Notebook of Facts and Gems, 1856". The Princeton University Library Chronicle. 8 (2): 67–87. 1947. doi:10.2307/26400458. JSTOR 26400458.  
  3. ^ a b c "Previous Vice-Chancellors". Sewanee: The University of the South. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  4. ^ "The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee". The Churchman: 160. August 7, 1886.
  5. ^ A sermon in behalf of the Southern sufferers. WorldCat. OCLC 23296422. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  6. ^ Taylor, Dick, ed. (1932). "Telfair Hodgson". Cap and Gown. Sewanee: The University of the South. p. 68.
  7. ^ Armentrout, Donald S. (September 1982). "The Beginnings of Theological Education at the University of the South: The Role of John Austin Merrick". Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church. 51 (3): 253–267. JSTOR 42974737.
  8. ^ Henneman, John Bell (October 1902), "Ten Years of the Sewanee Review: A Retrospect", The Sewanee Review, 10 (4): 480, JSTOR 27530519
  9. ^ Torian, Sarah Hodgson (December 1943). "Ante-bellum and war memories of Mrs. Telfair Hodgson". The Georgia Historical Quarterly. 27 (4): 350–356. JSTOR 40576904.
  10. ^ "Death of a Noted Divine". Vicksburg Evening Post. Sewanee, Tennessee. September 13, 1893. p. 1. Retrieved May 13, 2021 – via
  11. ^ "Telfair Dies At Sewanee. Heart Attack Fatal To Former Treasurer; Had Retired In 1949". The Tennessean. Sewanee, Tennessee. September 17, 1952. pp. 1, 2. Retrieved May 13, 2021 – via
  12. ^ "Sewanee Review", Johns Hopkins University Press, retrieved January 31, 2009