Walter Ireland Dawkins Diaries, 1902-1932

Navigate the Collection

Using These Materials Teaser

Using These Materials Links:

Using These Materials

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke...
More about accessing and using these materials...


Dawkins, Walter Ireland
Attorney and judge of the Supreme Bench of Baltimore, 1911-1934. Collection includes 10 manuscript diaries, with handwritten entries as well as inserted clippings and ephemeral items, dating from the years 1902, 1903, 1905, 1920-1922, 1926, 1929, 1930, and 1932.
2 Linear Feet
50 Items
Material in English
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

Collection consists of ten manuscript diaries, octavo, comprising 3467 pages of entries, plus ephemeral items and over 80 newspaper clippings. Clippings have been removed when found to separate folders for preservation of the journals. The diaries are dated 1902, 1903, 1905, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1926, 1929, 1930, and 1932. All are bound in their original cloth, of various colors. Four volumes have limp boards with normal wear to bindings. The entries are written in a neat hand, but one which requires some familiarity to read with ease.

In his diaries, Dawkins typically recorded weather observations, followed by descriptions of his activities and his cases as an attorney (1903-1905) and on the bench (1920-1922, 1926, 1929-1930, and 1932). He also records the deaths of his colleagues, friends, and noted individuals of the day. After his quotidian entries denoting the weather and workaday activities, Dawkins makes note of his leisure pursuits, or comments on local and national political events. He mentions his attendance at events, both social and cultural. In his early diaries, he shows a penchant for taking Turkish baths on Saturday afternoons, followed by oysters and a night at the opera. The diaries document at least two trips abroad to Europe in 1905 and 1922, each trip lasting several months. There are also several domestic trips: one to Mackinaw Island, Michigan, in 1921, and to the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone in 1926. Shorter vacations are also mentioned. The death of Dawkins' brother James is recounted on June 29, 1920. (James Dawkins was a former police magistrate and a member of the state legislature for Maryland.) The diary for 1929 also recounts the Stock Market Crash of that year.

Biographical / historical:

Walter Ireland Dawkins was a judge on the Supreme Bench of Baltimore from 1911 to 1934. He was born in Leonardtown, Maryland, on October 21, 1858, the son of Young Paran Dawkins, a St. Mary's County farmer, merchant, judge of the Orphans Court, and member of the Board of County Commissions. Walter Dawkins received a B.S. in 1880 and M.A. in 1883 from St. John's College and practiced law briefly in St. Mary's County. He then moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and returned to Baltimore City in 1887. In Baltimore he built up a solid law practice and was on several occasions considered as a potential mayoral candidate. He was defeated in the Democractic primary in 1906 for a berth on the supreme bench, but was appointed to the bench in 1911 to fill a vacant term. Later that year he was elected to a fifteen year term and re-elected in 1926. In 1928, the state extended his term six years past the normal retirement age of seventy. He retired in 1934 and died two years later. Dawkins was active in numerous local organizations and served one term as President of the Maryland State Bar Association.

He was a "confirmed bachelor," rarely recording interactions with women of any kind. The diary for 1920 shows that Dawkins had a live-in servant, "Ding", who, according to the U.S. Census for 1920, was a 32-year-old Japanese immigrant, formally named Dengi Hanno.

Acquisition information:
The Walter Ireland Dawkins Diaries were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2011.
Processing information:

Processed by Meghan Lyon, May 2011

Encoded by Meghan Lyon, May 2011

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2011-0066

Materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.

Physical location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.

Judges -- Manners and customs -- Baltimore (Md.)
Judges -- Maryland
Weather -- Observations
Supreme Bench of Baltimore
Dawkins, Walter Ireland
Dawkins, Walter Ireland, 1858-1936
Maryland -- Politics and government -- 20th century
Maryland -- History -- 20th century


Using These Materials

Using These Materials Links:

Using These Materials


Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

Terms of access:

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Before you visit:
Please consult our up-to-date information for visitors page, as our services and guidelines periodically change.
Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Walter Ireland Dawkins Diaries, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.