W. Dorr Legg

Architect, Deceased Person

1904 – 1994


Who was W. Dorr Legg?

W. Dorr Legg, was a landscape architect and one of the founders of the United States gay rights movement, then called the homophile movement.

The second child of Franc C. Dorr and Frank E. Legg, his older brother was Victor Eldred Legg and younger brother was Frank Evariste Legg, Jr.

He trained as a landscape architect at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and from 1935 was professor of landscape architecture at Oregon State Agricultural College, but moved back to Michigan in the 1940s to care for his father and the family business.

In 1949 he moved to Los Angeles with his partner Merton Bird. In 1950 the couple founded Knights of the Clock, a support group for interracial gay couples. The couple actively joined the national Mattachine Society, but Legg later led a split to co-found ONE, Inc.. As publisher of the organization's journal, Legg was forced to sue the United States Postal Service to defend its right to be distributed through the US Mail. The case, One, Inc. v. Olesen was pursued through appeals to a successful conclusion in 1958 before the United States Supreme Court. Legg traveled to Germany in the 1950s to recover the remains of the archives of the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft.

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  • United States of America
Lived in
  • Ann Arbor

on July 23, 2013


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