Dawkins Family Papers
The Dawkins Family papers cover the period 1883 to 1931 with most of the material dated between 1912 and 1923. The collection consists of correspondence, diaries, newspaper clippings, and photographs.
Important Information for Users of the Collection
This collection is open for research.
Dawkins Family Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.
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Young Parran Dawkins (1820-1883) married Althea Elizabeth Dorsey (1824-1878) in 1842. Both were from well-known families in St. Mary's and Calvert counties, Maryland. They had five children: James Alexander Dawkins (1845-1920), Mary (1849-1850), Young Parran (1856-1899), Walter Ireland (1858-1936), and Eva (1864-1917). This collection consists primarily of correspondence from this generation of the Dawins family and the children of James and Mary Dawkins.
James Dawkins lived in Baltimore, where he was a partner in a tobacco sales business. For a few years before his death he was also a police magistrate. A life-long Democrat, he was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1903 and was re-elected to an unprecedented sixth term in 1913. He married twice. Following the death of his first wife, Melissa Polk Bryant (1845-1875), and their son, James (1875-1876), he married Mary Lizzie Deming (1857-1923) of Norfolk, Virginia, in 1881. She was the daughter of Edward C. and Frances Deming and had seven siblings, five of whom survived her: Joseph, Portius, Anna, Lucy, and Walter Burrell.
James and Mary had three children: Francis Althea (1884-1965), Young Parran (1887-?), and Mary Deming (1889-1967). Frances was a school teacher; she never married. Young married Betty ? (1887-1973) in 1914 and they had one son, Young Parran (1916-1988). Mary married Herbert S. Michael (1881-1967) in 1909. They had two children: Mary Francis (1914-?) and Herbert Jr. (1921-1923).
Walter Ireland Dawkins was an associate judge of the Supreme Bench, Baltimore City, 1911-1934; he never married. Eva married James Steed Edelen (1858-?) of Prince Georges County, Maryland; they had no children.
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The Dawkins Family Papers cover the period 1883 to 1931 with most of the material dated between 1912 and 1923. The collection consists of correspondence, diaries, newspaper clippings, and photographs.
Custodial History and Acquisition Information
The University of Maryland acquired this collection in 1972.
The collection was originally processed September 20, 1974, and reprocessed by Terry Ann Sayler, October 2011.
The papers were placed in acid-free folders and stored in acid-free boxes.
EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Jennie Knies, April 2007.
Arrangement of Collection
The collection is organized into four series.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Series 1: Correspondence, 1883-1931 (2.00 linear feet)
The bulk of this series consists of letters from Mary Lizzie Dawkins to her son, Young Parran, in which she refers to him as "precious boy" or "darling boy." Frances Dawkins is referred to as "Sister" and Mary Dawkins Michael as "Kid" in the correspondence. The majority of her letters expressed her love for him, admonished him to take care of himself, stop drinking, write to her, and pay his debts; she occasionally thanked him for sending her money. She frequently mentioned that she suffered with "sick headaches."
In 1912, Young worked and lived in Washington, D.C., for the J. Henry Miller construction firm. He came home to Baltimore almost every weekend, bringing his dirty clothes to be cleaned by his mother. In March 1913, he was sent to Utica, New York, to supervise the building of a new railroad station. His mother wrote that he lived a "reckless life" in Washington and she prayed that "the acquaintances you make in your new field of work may find pleasure in a better way of living" (March 24, 1913). Four letters to "Dearest" from "M" may be from one of Parran's Utica girlfriends to him when he moved to Albany. Two were written from the Brandegee School in Utica where "M" may have been a teacher. In June 1914, he was transferred to Albany, New York. Even though Young was deeply in debt, he managed to send his mother "enclosures" on a regular basis which she greatefully acknowledged given their financial circumstances. While in Albany he met and married Betty, one of several women friends.
Frances Dawkins received several letters from E. E. Knight, an Episcopal priest in Baltimore, between 1921 and 1923. During that time he was working at mission chapels in Rutherfordton, North Carolina and sent her pictures of the chapels and the people. In 1917, he assisted at the funeral of Frances' aunt, Eva Dawkins Edelen.
In the September 30, 1913, letter to Pete from Bill Hill, there is a detailed description of an attack by white youths on a black man near Stricker Street in Baltimore in which Bill participated. Pete and Bill were Baltimore friends of Young Parran Dawkins.
Arrangement is alphabetical by last name of recipient and sender, then chronological.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|To S. W. Bradford from John V. L. Findlay, 1896||series 1||box 1||folder 1|
|To Dawkins children from Mary Lizzie Dawkins, 1904||series 1||box 1||folder 2|
|To Betty Dawkins from Mary Lizzie Dawkins, 1914||series 1||box 1||folder 3|
|To Francis Dawkins from Mary Lizzie Dawkins, 1922||series 1||box 1||folder 4|
|To Francis Dawkins from Walter I. Dawkins, 1918, 1928-1929, 1931||series 1||box 1||folder 5|
|To Francis Dawkins from Ann Deming, 1922-1923||series 1||box 1||folder 6|
|To Francis Dawkins from Frances Deming, 1926||series 1||box 1||folder 7|
|To Francis Dawkins from Lucy Deming, 1923, 1926||series 1||box 1||folder 8|
|To Francis Dawkins from Deming relatives, 1922-1923||series 1||box 1||folder 9|
|To Francis Dawkins from Nina S. Edelen, 1921-1923||series 1||box 1||folder 10|
|To Francis Dawkins from E. E. Knight, 1921-1923||series 1||box 1||folder 11|
|To Francis Dawkins from Mary Dawkins Michael, 1928||series 1||box 1||folder 12|
|To Francis Dawkins from Carolyn E. Potts, 1922||series 1||box 1||folder 13|
|To Francis Dawkins from Frank A. Schmidt, 1922-1923||series 1||box 1||folder 14|
|To Francis Dawkins from Lily Diehl Stichter, 1913, 1920, 1922-1923||series 1||box 1||folder 15|
|To Francis Dawkins from various correspondents, 1898, 1911, 1916, 1920-1922||series 1||box 1||folder 16|
|To Francis Dawkins from various correspondents, 1923, 1928-1929||series 1||box 1||folder 17|
|To Francis Dawkins from Emily L. Worrall, 1922-1923||series 1||box 1||folder 18|
|To James A. Dawkins from Walter I. Dawkins, 1916||series 1||box 1||folder 19|
|To Mary Lizzie Dawkins from various correspondents, 1920||series 1||box 1||folder 20|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from Betty, 1914||series 1||box 1||folder 21|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from Francis Dawkins, 1912-1914 and undated||series 1||box 1||folder 22|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from James A. Dawkins, 1912, 1913||series 1||box 1||folder 23|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from Mary Lizzie Dawkins, 1904, 1910, 1912||series 1||box 1||folder 24|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from Mary Lizzie Dawkins, January-April 1913||series 1||box 1||folder 25|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from Mary Lizzie Dawkins, May-June 1913||series 1||box 1||folder 26|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from Mary Lizzie Dawkins, July-August 1913||series 1||box 1||folder 27|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from Mary Lizzie Dawkins, September-October 1913||series 1||box 1||folder 28|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from Mary Lizzie Dawkins, November-December 1913||series 1||box 1||folder 29|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from Mary Lizzie Dawkins, 1913-1914||series 1||box 2||folder 1|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from Mary Lizzie Dawkins, January-February 1914||series 1||box 2||folder 2|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from Mary Lizzie Dawkins, March-June 1914||series 1||box 2||folder 3|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from Mary Lizzie Dawkins, July-December 1914||series 1||box 2||folder 4|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from Eva Dawkins Edelen, 1913||series 1||box 2||folder 5|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from Mary Dawkins Michael, 1913-1914||series 1||box 2||folder 6|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from Joe Winchell(?), 1914||series 1||box 2||folder 7|
|To Young Parran Dawkins from various correspondents, 1912-1914||series 1||box 2||folder 8|
|To "Dearest" from "M", 1914||series 1||box 2||folder 9|
|To Eva Dawkins Edelen from Walter I. Dawkins, 1908, 1912-1913||series 1||box 2||folder 10|
|To Eva Dawkins Edelen from Young Parran Dawkins, 1908||series 1||box 2||folder 11|
|To Eva Dawkins Edelen from James Steed Edelen, 1904, 1908||series 1||box 2||folder 12|
|To Eva Dawkins Edelen from various correspondents, 1903, 1906, 1913||series 1||box 2||folder 13|
|To Pete from Bill Hill, 1913||series 1||box 2||folder 14|
|To G. Smith Norris from S. Hyland, 1883||series 1||box 2||folder 15|
|To "Sis" from "Bro", 1914||series 1||box 2||folder 16|
|To Sister from Howard, 1914||series 1||box 2||folder 17|
Series 2: Diaries, 1909, 1927 (2 items)
This series consists of two diaries kept by Walter I. Dawkins, one for 1909 and the other for 1927. The entries mention the weather; his health; news of the day; his daily law and court work; where he dined; the social events he attended in the evenings; the moving pictures and plays he saw and his opinions of them; trips he took to Cape May, Atlantic City, and other locations; deaths and funerals he attended; and people he saw at home or in his office.
In 1909, Walter Dawkins resided at the St. James Hotel and maintained his law practice in the Fidelity Building on the northwest corner of Charles and Lexington streets in Baltimore. The January 1, 1909, diary begins with Dawkins going to work. He wrote on that day that he remembered "a saying of my good father that if one does a good day's work on New Year's day that good work will be done all the year."
Two events related to his immediate family are recorded in the 1909 diary. On July 18, Dawkins mentioned that he heard "of very serious illness of Mr. Jos. C. Deming", the brother of his sister-in-law, Lizzie. Mr. Deming was a well-known Baltimore insurance man. On July 21, Dawkins went to his brother's home and then planned to go visit Joseph Deming but received word that he died at 5:30 p.m. and that he found the "family in great distress". The funeral took place on July 23; Dawkins cancelled plans to go to Cape May and attended the funeral: "felt that it is a duty."
On Tuesday, September 28, 1909 he wrote: "Herbert S. Michael and Mary D. Dawkins, my niece, were married at 1220 W. Lafayette Ave. at 8PM. She looked very pretty. Rev. R.S. Coupland performed ceremony. Refreshments afterwards to family and two or three others who were present. The wedding for a quiet affair was all right but I fear this I don't particularly like this young man"
The 1927 diary begins January 1, with Walter and his niece, Frances Dawkins, staying in Atlantic City at the Hotel Dennis. He had not reserved rooms and when they arrived none were available. His entry indicates that they would stay until rooms were available; finally the staff found two rooms for them. "This New Year brings no particular change to me save I am not well-heart, throat" The next day after "worrying the clerk", he and Frances were given better rooms. They remained there until January 4, when they returned by train to Baltimore.
On July 16, he returned to the Hotel Dennis for a vacation, taking with him his servant, Queener, who was sent to a "nigger" hotel to stay but would come daily to wait on Dawkins. Dawkins was a confirmed bachelor but women were often in his company when he was on vacation. A family friend, Lily Diehl Stichter of Reading, Pennsylvania, was also staying at the Hotel Dennis that July. Many evenings they would sit, talk and listen to music but he found the time spent with her "a waste" (July 21). On that same evening, about 10 p.m., the two of them "listened to radio give description of the fight in New York between Jack Dempsey and Jack Sharkey Dempsey won in the 7th round. Interesting to hear about it in this way." On July 28, he was worried about her. "It bores me to be with her so much but am afraid to hurt her feeling by staying from her." On August 1: "wish that I could make up my mind about Miss S. I am convinced that she cares for me." Then on August 12, shortly after lunch when he had left Miss Stichter, he was told she was unconscious in the hotel lobby. A doctor was called and said she had had a "sudden attack of uremic poisoning". His opinion of her changed as a result: "I miss her terribly. Didn't know how much I really care for her. Hope she will get well." From then until he left Atlantic City on August 21, he visited her daily and sent her fresh flowers.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|Walter I. Dawkins, 1909||series 2||box 3||folder 1|
|Walter I. Dawkins, 1927||series 2||box 3||folder 2|
Series 3: Newspaper Clippings, 1909, 1927 (2 folders)
The newspaper clippings were removed from the Walter I. Dawkins diaries. The clippings from 1909 are mainly obituaries of Maryland men and women Dawkins may have known: James Whitehouse, Samuel F. Primrose, Jane Germon, Judge Conway Whittle Sams, and Teackle Wallis Blakistone. Also included are the engagement and wedding announcements of his niece, Mary Deming Dawkins, to Herbert S. Michael. In December 1909, a snowstorm blanketed the east coast and two clippings describe its impact on Maryland and Cleveland, Ohio. The 1927 clippings describe weather conditions that year: fog, summer heat, and winter snow in Maryland and elsewhere in the United States. Arrangement is by date.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|Newspaper Clippings, 1909||series 3||box 3||folder 3|
|Newspaper Clippings, 1927||series 3||box 3||folder 4|
Series 4: Photographs, 1912, 1914, and 1922 (10 items)
This series consists of ten photographs mounted on two boards. Six photographs show scenes from Rutherfordton, North Carolina, probably taken by E. E. Knight. Four photographs are of members of the James Dawkins family.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame||Item|
|Photographs, 1912, 1914, 1922||series 4||box 3||folder 5|
|Rutherfordton, North Carolina, E. E. Knight, photographer - Aunt Marias cabin (6323), June 1, 1922||series 4||box 3||folder 5||item 1|
|Rutherfordton, North Carolina, E. E. Knight, photographer - Altar in St. Larkis Chapel (6324), June 1, 1922||series 4||box 3||folder 5||item 2|
|Rutherfordton, North Carolina, E. E. Knight, photographer - Old well in front of Aunt Marias cabin (6325), June 1, 1922||series 4||box 3||folder 5||item 3|
|Rutherfordton, North Carolina, E. E. Knight, photographer - Altar in St. Francis Church (6326), June 1, 1922||series 4||box 3||folder 5||item 4|
|Rutherfordton, North Carolina, E. E. Knight, photographer - North Carolina mountain family, St. Marks Mission (6327), June 1, 1922||series 4||box 3||folder 5||item 5|
|Rutherfordton, North Carolina, E. E. Knight, photographer - Altar in St. Gabriels Chapel (6328), June 1, 1922||series 4||box 3||folder 5||item 6|
|Dawkins Family - James A. Dawkins, Francis Dawkins, Mary Lizzie (Mrs. James) Dawkins, Walter Dawkins on board U.S.S. Dolphin (6329), July 15, 1912||series 4||box 3||folder 5||item 7|
|Dawkins Family - Mary Dawkins Michael holding daughter, Mary Francis Michael (6330), May 2, 1914||series 4||box 3||folder 5||item 8|
|Dawkins Family - Mary Francis Michael held by Mary Lizzie Dawkins (6331), May 2, 1914||series 4||box 3||folder 5||item 9|
|Dawkins Family - Mary Francis Michael, Francis Deming, Mary Lizzie Dawkins (6332), June 9, 1914||series 4||box 3||folder 5||item 10|
For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.
Selected Search Terms
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Maryland Libraries' Catalog. Researchers desiring related materials about these topics, names, or places may search the Catalog using these headings.
- Baltimore (Md.) -- Social Life and customs
- Dawkins, Eva, 1864-1917 -- Correspondence
- Dawkins, Fances, 1884-1965 -- Correspondence
- Dawkins, James A., 1845-1920 -- Correspondence
- Dawkins, Walter Ireland, 1858-1936 -- Diaries
- Dawkins, Young Parran, b. 1877 -- Correspondence
- Dawkins Family -- Correspondence
- Judges -- Maryland -- Baltimore -- 20th century -- Archives
- Knight, E. E. -- Correspondence
- Labor -- United States -- History -- Sources
- Legislators -- Maryland -- 20th century -- Correspondence
- Maryland -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950
- United States - Maryland - Baltimore
- Weather -- Observation
Names (Added Entries)
- Dawkins, Walter Ireland, 1858-1936