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Alexander Ward Papers

Identifier: GTM-850101

Scope and Contents

The Alexander Ward Papers comprise fifteen autograph diaries of Alexander Ward from 1870 to 1889. The diaries begin while Ward is eighteen and trace his development from a wealthy youth working part-time in a factory to a wealthy land owner doing local magistracy work. The diaries offer us an interesting perspective on the day to day life of a country squire during his early years before his marriage in 1895. The entries are written in a "matter-of-fact" style, often with little commentary. A typical entry is as follows:

"Office at usual time, same time. Wimpole St. at 1:30. Dorchester Terr. at 2:45. went for a ride with Lidney and Adela to Hammersmith Bridge and then through Richmond Park. Heard of Uncle Sandy's death." (3/21/1874)

There are a number of subjects which appear throughout the collection. An example is his trips to Scotland and Ireland, which tend to occur at least once a year. Ward also made three trips to the Continent to France, Germany, and Switzerland, mostly to help his rheumatism by attending the Baths in each place. Another recurring subject is that of Gatwick, the family estate, where Ward often performed maintenance and where much of his hunting and horsemanship took place. Ward often refers to Aunt Fannie, who apparently suffered from a mental disorder and was hospitalized during most of the time the diaries were kept. He frequently mentions taking her for walks and out to dine, often with his sister Janet. Grenada is mentioned several times in the early years of the Collection, and because Ward was later made judge over the island some time after 1895, all such references are showing in the finding aid. A final subject which may be found interesting is the amount of train travel recorded by Ward, who may well have taken at least one tran a day five or six days a week, and often taking several trains a day. His records are often very detailed, telling what time he caught a train and often when it arrived.


  • 1870 - 1889

Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical / Historical

Alexander Ward was born in 1852, the second son of Mr. Henry Ward of Gatwick House in Billericay, Essex. The diaries in the Collection begin in 1870, presumably soon after Ward had finished his undergraduate work at Cambridge. Ward's father apparently sets him up with a job at a local Works (factory) in Greenwich, where Ward takes an apartment. During the following six years, Ward leads an activte social and cultural life, going to shows and dining out almost every night. His sister, Janet, is mentioned often as a companion in these outings, and a close friend named Turner becomes a popular companion as well. Entries such as the following are typical: "Office at usual time; in evening went to 51 Liec. Inn Fields, where I met JHW and went with him to see Nillson in Faust at Drury Lane. 11:30 train to Greenwich." (5/27/1873)

In 1876, Ward beings to work at what appears to be a law firm, Bow and Bromley, and later enters law school at Middle Temple. In 1879, Ward was called to the bar and refers to his place of work as "the Chambers." In addition to his work as a lawyer, Ward was put on the Board of Directors of the London Bank of Utah. He refers to meetings with the Bank's Board about once a month, and the post eventually earns him a business trip to the U.S. in 1882. Entries during the month-and-a-half-long trip are brief, but there is clearly a tone of excitement as Ward passes through New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Salt Lake City (where most of the business takes place), and San Francisco, among other places. His commentary on America is often interesting, as he refers to New York City as "Rome," excitedly mentions spotting "prairie wolves and antelopes" from the train, and says that a theater in Chicago is modeled after a British theater and is "the most miserable view I've ever seen." (6/1882) After this period, the diaries become vague about his professional activities and focus upon his hobbies of hunting and horses. Lists of horse purchases and of kills during hunts, while seen often enough in earlier diaries, become the major focus of the diaries from 1884 to 1888. He appears to have been quite a good sportsman, and his passion for horses greatly exceeds the interest in plays he showed in his younger days.

Alexander Ward was made Honorary Secretary of the Essex Union Hunt in 1893, and in 1895 married Florence Emily, the daughter of Major General Sir Francis Cunningham-Scott KCB KCMG. In 1896 he was made magistrate for Essex, and at some point after this became judge over the island of Grenada. Alexander Ward died on April 23, 1907. For further information on Ward, see the curatorial file for this collection.


0.75 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Alexander Ward Papers
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington, D.C.
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057