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.