Justice Michael H. Hirschberg was born on April 12, 1847 in Newburgh. He attended Newburgh Free Academy and at the age of 19 began to study law under former Orange County Judge Stephen W. Fullerton. He was admitted to the bar in 1868. By age 23 he had been elected as a member of the Newburgh Board of Education and became its president three years later. Before joining the bench, Hirschberg was engaged in the private practice of law for 28 years, and also served as a special County Judge for one term and as Orange County District Attorney for three terms. He declined a nomination for Congress at age 27, preferring to continue practicing law.
In 1894, Hirschberg was a delegate at large for the Constitutional Convention, and was influential in obtaining constitutional recognition of the State University of New York. He was nominated to the Brooklyn Supreme Court in 1896. Hirschberg was designated to the Appellate Division, Second Department in 1900 by Gov. Theodore Roosevelt. Four years later, Gov. Benjamin B. Odell promoted him to presiding justice of that court. In 1911, his term as presiding justice expired and he was designated by Gov. Dix to a five year term as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division. Hirschberg retired from the Appellate Division in 1914 and from the Supreme Court in 1918, thereafter serving as an official referee for the Ninth Judicial District.
Additionally, Hirschberg was on the board of trustees for Washington’s Headquarters and the State Law Library, and was a member of the New York Bar Association and the New York Medico-Legal Society. He also served as Director for a National bank.
He married Elizabeth McAlles in 1878 and had four children. He died in Newburgh on March 17, 1929 at the age of 81.
“Dix Promotes Justice.” New York Times (1857-1922): 16. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). Jan 08 1911. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.
“Four Justices Nominated.” New York Times (1857-1922): 4. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). Sep 27 1896. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.
“Glynn Designates Judges.” New York Times (1857-1922): 9. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). Nov 09 1914. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.
“M.H. Hirschberg, 81, Ex-Justice, is Dead.” New York Times (1923-Current file): 27. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). Mar 19 1929. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.