This collection contains the papers of Hawaiian businessmen Walter F. Dillingham (1875-1963) and his father, Benjamin Dillingham
(1844-1918), and includes
correspondence largely dealing with family events, travels, schooling, and business affairs. The letters often refer to the
social, economic, and political conditions in Hawaii.
The papers often deal with the family's companies including the Oahu Railway and Land Company, the Ewa Plantation Company,
the Hawaiian Dredging Company, and the B. F. Dillingham Company.
Walter Francis Dillingham (1875-1963) was the oldest son of Benjamin “B. F.” Dillingham and Emma Smith Dillingham of Honolulu,
Hawaii. B. F. Dillingham was an influential and successful businessman in Hawaii and
owner of several companies including the Olaa Sugar Company, the Ewa Plantation, and the B. F. Dillingham Company. In 1888,
B. F. created the Oahu Railway and Land Company, ultimately building the first railroad
on the island of Oahu. Walter, born in Honolulu, April 5, 1875, moved to the United States, in 1889, to attend Newton High
School in Auburndale, Massachusetts, and later Harvard University. After returning home from Harvard, Walter began clerking
for his father, and in 1900, at the age of 25, became manager of the Dowsett Company, Limited. He also created and was the
first manager and treasurer of the Hawaiian Dredging Company. In 1904, with his father hospitalized in San Francisco, Walter
became responsible for the finances and direction of the Oahu Railway and Land Company. In 1910 Walter married Louise Olga
Gaylord; they had four children, Lowell Smith, Benjamin Franklin II, Henry Gaylord and Elizabeth Louise Dillingham Wick. In
1918, after B. F.’s death, Walter, along with his brother Harold Garfield Dillingham, took over the management of the Dillinghams’
businesses. Walter was stationed in Washington, D. C., and served in the U. S. Army, Motor Transport Corps during World War
I. Walter F. Dillingham died in Hawaii in October 1963.
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