Walter Francis Dillingham papers and addenda


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

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