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Walter Francis Dillingham papers and addenda
HM 58322-59296, HM 79170-79203  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography/Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Additional collection guides

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Walter Francis Dillingham papers and addenda
    Dates: 1871-1938
    Collection Number: HM 58322-59296, HM 79170-79203
    Creator/Collector: Dillingham, Walter Francis, 1875-1963
    Extent: 1,051 items
    Repository: Huntington Library. Manuscripts Department
    Abstract: Personal and business papers of Walter Francis Dillingham and his father Benjamin Franklin Dillingham of Hawaii.
    Language of Material: English


    The whole collection is open to qualified researchers.

    Preferred Citation

    Walter Francis Dillingham papers and addenda. Huntington Library. Manuscripts Department

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased from Robert Van Dyke, 1985, and addenda purchased from Randall House, on consignment from Robert Van Dyke, 2002.

    Biography/Administrative History

    Walter Francis Dillingham was the oldest son of Benjamin "B. F." Dillingham and Emma Smith Dillingham of Honolulu. 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.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection contains 1,001 catalogued items, including approximately 966 pieces of correspondence. The collection spans the period 1871-1938, with the bulk of the material from 1880-1918. The collection, arranged alphabetically by author, consists primarily of correspondence; however, there are three business records, nine pieces of ephemera, and nineteen newspaper clippings. The collection contains material written by the principal Dillingham family members, as well as Walter Francis Frear, John P. Erdman, Isaac L. Requa, Walter Hyde Dillingham, Harold Randolph Erdman, several friends of the Dillingham family and business associates. The letters largely deal with family events and business affairs. The correspondence provides an account of each family member's travels and experiences abroad, whether it is going east for school, traveling to visit relatives, or raising money for the family's companies. Several letters deal with B. F.'s illness and hospitalization in the summer of 1904. The Dillinghams often discuss in detail the Oahu Railway and Land Company, the Ewa Plantation Company, and the B. F. Dillingham Company. The letters often refer to the social, economic, and political conditions in Hawaii. The business records deal with the B. F. Dillingham Company, the Hawaiian Dredging Company, and the Oahu Railway and Land Company. The ephemera consists of an envelope, an invitation, letter fragments and receipts. The majority of the newspaper clippings deal with the Dillingham family and their affairs in Hawaii. An addenda was added to the collection (Box 13). It consist of 50 items, chiefly correspondence between Walter Dillingham and his parents dealing with family issues and some business. Also included is a financial document entitled "B. F. Dillingham Assets & Liabilities" (1912). There are a few items of ephemera, including a typescript of an article entitled "Troubles come for Dillingham," and newspaper clippings. It is organized alphabetically by author.

    Indexing Terms

    Businessmen - Hawaii
    Hilo Railroad
    Oahu Railroad
    Plantations - Hawaii
    Railroads - Hawaii - History
    Bishop, Charles Reed, 1822-1915
    Dillingham, Benjamin Franklin, 1844-1918
    Dillingham, Emma Smith
    Dillingham, Harold Garfield
    Dillingham, Louise Olga Gaylord
    Dillingham, Margaret Bayard Smith
    Dillingham, Walter Francis, 1875-1963
    Erdman, John P.
    Erdman, Marion Dillingham
    Frear, Mary Dillingham
    Frear, Walter Francis, 1863-1948
    Kalakaua, David, King of Hawaii, 1836-1891
    Paxton, Elmer E.
    Requa, Isaac L.
    Smith, Lowell, 1802-1891
    Spreckels, C. A. (Claus August), 1858?-1946
    Thurston, Lorrin A. (Lorrin Andrews), 1858-1931
    Alexander and Baldwin (firm)
    B. F. Dillingham Company
    Ewa Plantation Company
    Frear, Prosser, Anderson & Marx
    Hawaiian Dredging Company
    Oahu Railway and Land Company
    Olaa Sugar Company
    Pacific Hardware Company
    Puna Sugar Co.
    Hawaii - Description and travel
    Hawaii - History - To 1893 - Sources
    Hawaii - History - 1893-1900 - Sources
    Hawaii - History - 20th century - Sources
    Hawaii - Industries - History
    Hawaii - Politics and government - to 1893
    Hawaii - Politics and government - 1893-1900
    Hawaii - Social life and customs - 19th century
    Honolulu (Hawaii)
    Pearl Harbor (Hawaii)
    Business records - Hawaii
    Ephemera - Hawaii
    Letters (correspondence) - Hawaii

    Additional collection guides