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Guide to the John Downey Works Papers, 1911-1928
Special Collections M031  
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John Downey Works Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1911-1928
    Collection number: Special Collections M031
    Creator: Works, John Downey
    Extent: 2 linear ft.
    Repository: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions:


    Publication Rights:

    Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.


    Gift of Lewis R. Works, 1930-31.

    Preferred Citation:

    [Identification of item] John Downey Works Papers, M031, Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.


    John Downey Works was born March 29, 1847 on a farm in Ohio County, Indiana. Educated in the common schools of the state until 1861, he then served eighteen months with the U. S. Volunteers in the Civil War. In 1868, he married Alice Banta, was admitted to the bar, and began a law practice in Vevay, Indiana which lasted for fifteen years. In 1879, he was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives for one term. Forced to leave Indiana in l883 due to ill health, Works and his family journeyed West and settled in southern California where, from 1886-87, he served as Judge of the Superior Court of San Diego County, Los Angeles. In 1888, he was appointed to fill a vacancy as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of California and shortly thereafter, was elected to fill out the term. Works returned to a private legal partnership in 1891 and remained so engaged until 1910 when he served for a brief time as President of the City Council of Los Angeles. In 1911, he was nominated by the Progressive Republicans of the Lincoln-Roosevelt League for the position of U. S. Senator, was subsequently elected, and served in Congress until 1917 when he returned once again to private life and practice. Works died on June 6, 1928.
    Among Works' publications are:

    Indiana Pleading and Practice (1883)

    Water and Water Rights (1890)

    Courts and their Jurisdiction (1894)

    What's Wrong With the World (1922)

    Man's Duty to Man (1923)

    Juridical Reform (1924)


    The Works Papers include the correspondence of John Downey Works dated from 1911 to 1928, the bulk of which was written between 1916 and 1926. In addition, the collection contains a typescript copy of Works' memoirs concerning, especially, his years in the U. S. Senate, several typescripts of articles and speeches, and a scrapbook of newspaper clippings by or about Works from 1906-1911. Also included are printed copies of many of Works' Senate speeches.
    Of primary interest in the Papers is the correspondence concerning Works' election to the U. S. Senate in 1911, publication of his several books, and his relationship with the Church of Christ Scientist.
    For additional information consult the Works Collection in the Bancroft Library, University of California (see correspondence to Works from J. C. Rowell, Librarian). Also helpful for general reference is Irene Lucile Way's The Political Career of John Downey Works, a thesis written 1929-30 at Stanford University for the degree of Master of Arts.


    Blight, Reynold E.
    Christian Science Monitor
    Hargraves, John W.
    La Follette., Robert M.
    Neale Publishing Co.
    Patton, Charles 0.
    Stratford Co.
    Taft, William H.
    Rowell, Chester H.