Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the John D. Works Papers, 1910-1917
BANC MSS C-B 423  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (89.16 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Scope and Content
  • Biography

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: John D. Works Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1910-1917
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 423
    Creator: Works, John D. (John Downey), 1847-1928
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Correspondence; printed copies of his speeches; and some reference materials, such as clippings, reports, copies of bills and government documents. Relate mainly to his career in the U.S. Senate and his stand on such issues as intervention in Mexico, neutrality, preparedness, U.S. entry into World War I, Hetch Hetchy Valley legislation, irrigation in California; and to the political situation in California, particularly during the 1916 presidential campaign.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John D. Works papers, BANC MSS C-B 423, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Scope and Content

    Senator Works' papers came to the University of California Library in the early part of 1917 and were later transferred to The Bancroft Library. On October 26, 1916, J. C. Rowell, University librarian, requested that Works deposit his senatorial papers in the library, to be preserved for the use of future historians. Works agreed and went through his correspondence, segregating what he thought worthy of preservation and grouping them by subject. He cautioned Rowell that the files were not complete since he did not save all his correspondence, but stated nothing had been "left out by design."
    The papers, covering the period 1910 to 1917, consist mainly of letters addressed to Works, carbon copies of some of his outgoing letters, printed copies of his speeches and some reference materials such as clippings, reports, copies of bills and government documents. They relate to his senatorial career, particularly the stand he took on such national issues as intervention in Mexico, neutrality, preparedness and U.S. entry into World War I, and those problems so important to California, Hetch Hetchy legislation and irrigation. They also shed light on the confused political situation in California during the 1916 presidential campaign.
    A key to the arrangement of the papers follows herein. As will be seen, the Senator's topic grouping has been retained only in the subject files and in the miscellaneous letters. Most of the correspondence was removed, for easier reference, and placed in incoming and outgoing correspondence files. References have been made, however, on the subject files to the appropriate letters.
    The library at UCLA has some of Senator Works' papers -the letters from presidents, cabinet members and congressmen that Works had given in May 1916 to his friend, T. Perceval Gerson of Los Angeles.
    Memoirs and some correspondence are at Stanford University.


    John Downey Works was born in Indiana, March 29, 1847, and attended public schools there. At the age of 16 he enlisted in the 10th Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Cavalry of the Union Army and served the duration of the war. He then studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1868 and began his practice in Indiana. In 1883 he moved to San Diego, California, and continued the practice of law. He served as judge of the Superior Court of San Diego County, 1886-1887, and as associate justice of the Supreme Court of California, 1888-1891. He moved to Los Angeles in 1896 and became president of the city council in 1910. In November of that year he was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate, serving from 1911 to 1917. Deciding not to be a candidate for re-election, he resumed his practice of law, and died in Los Angeles, June 6, 1928.