Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Wilkinson (Webster) immigration legal archive
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Preferred Citation
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Title: Webster Wilkinson immigration legal archive
    creator: Wilkinson, Webster H.
    Identifier/Call Number: M1973
    Physical Description: 18 Linear Feet (36 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): circa 1920s-1930s
    Abstract: The papers of Webster Wilkinson chronicle his years as an immigration attorney specializing in Chinese immigration and emigration from 1919 to 1941.

    Biographical / Historical

    Webster Wilkinson (1878-1942) was a San Francisco-based attorney whose practice focused on immigration law primarily relating to Chinese clients. During this time he served as secretary for the short-lived Immigration Bar Association of San Francisco (1924-1930), for which some related papers are included in this archive. Prior to working in the private sphere, he worked for over 15 years in the federal government as an immigration inspector.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection covers the years of Wilkinson’s law practice from 1919 to 1941, and includes documents, photographs, business cards, case files, and more related to Webster Wilkinson's work as an immigration lawyer, such as Wilkinson's correspondence with clients, partnership lists, research and interview notes, bills to clients, and correspondence from Attorney Roger O'Donnell. The collection primarily contains correspondence between Wilkinson, his clients, supporters of immigrants, fellow lawyers, immigration officials, and others. His relationship with attorney Roger O'Donnell in particular sheds light on both the Immigration service and its policies at the time. In addition to these are handwritten notes from his research into, and interviews with, clients, as well as commentaries on the official testimonies (many including detailed information on everyday life in Chinese villages). The collection also contains bills to clients and completed paperwork that he submitted on their behalf, including partnership lists necessary to prove an applicant’s status as a merchant. These are all distributed among the various individual files of the archive, numbering more than 1600 and ordered alphabetically by surname. Though Wilkinson primarily served Chinese clients, the archive also contains cases concerning one Japanese, one German, one Bulgarian, one Portuguese, one Austrian, one Filipino, and 11 Korean travelers and immigrants, as well as two Chinese coming up from Mexico.

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], Webster Wilkinson immigration legal archive (M1973). Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for research. Note that material must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use.

    Conditions Governing Use

    While Special Collections is the owner of the physical items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Purchase; 2013. Accession MSS 2013-123.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Chinese -- California.
    Chinese Americans -- California.
    Immigration -- United States
    Emigration and immigration law -- United States
    United States -- Emigration and immigration.
    Wilkinson, Webster H.