John Stanley Webster was born in Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky on February 22, 1877. He attended public school and Smith's Classical School for Boys. After studing law at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor from 1897 to 1899 he returned home to Harrison County to practice law and then, 1902-1906, serve as Prosecuting Attorney. After successfully prosecuting a particularly difficult and extended case involving family feuds and murder, Webster left Kentucky and moved to Spokane, Washington, in May 1906. There he established a small law practice which he combined with efforts at farming. He became Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Spokane County in 1907 and the following year married Mary Gertrude Lathrum, daughter of John Lathrum, longtime sheriff of Whitman County. In 1909, Acting Governor M. E. Hay appointed Webster to the bench as Judge of the Superior Court for Spokane County, a position he held until 1916. Webster served as Associate Justice of the State Supreme Court from 1916 to 1918. He was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives from the 5th Congressional District of Washington in November 1918 and served in the House from March 4, 1919 to May 8, 1923 when he resigned to become U. S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Washington. He served in that capacity until August 1, 1938, when he retired owing to ill health. Judge Webster was a resident of Spokane, Washington until his death on December 24, 1962.
The collection reflects Webster's judicial career, specifically his tenure on the bench of the U. S. District Court for Eastern Washington, from 1923 through the later 1930s. The papers deal only in a passing fashion with his career as a Superior Court judge for Spokane County or as an Associate Justice of the Washington Supreme Court. There is virtually no material from Webster's service as a member of the U. S. House of Representatives for the 5th Congressional District of Washington.
Restrictions on Access :
This collection is open for research use.Preferred Citation :
[Item Description]. Cage 459, John Stanley Webster Papers . Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.
The papers of John Stanley Webster are arranged alphabetically in a single subject series. Included in the papers are correspondence, financial material, newspaper clippings, certificates and letters of appointment, biographical and obituary material, a single speech, and photographs. The material dates from 1901 through 1963, but the bulk of the papers come from the period of the early 1920s through the mid-1930s. Every effort has been made to retain the original order of the Webster papers as they were received; the order within the individual files has been preserved.
The correspondence, which comprises the vast majority of the papers, has been divided into four groups: General, 1909-1940, Endorsements, 1931-1932; Personal, 1923-1934, and 1962; and Dog Breeding and Showing, 1926-1937. The General Correspondence begins with Webster's appointment to the bench as U. S. District Court Judge for Eastern Washington. It includes both in-coming and out-going letters to lawyers, judges, and other individuals involved with legal questions. This material covers the period from 1909 through 1940 with the bulk of the material from the period 1923-1934. It is arranged in alphabetical groups, "A-D, E-K, L-M, N-R, S-Z," but within these groups there is no apparent order. Separate files have been established for individuals with whom Webster frequently corresponded. The Endorsements Correspondence consists primarily of letters of recommendation written by Webster for individuals seeking positions of employment or political office. The endorsements cover the period 1931-1932 and include both in-coming and out-going correspondence. The Personal file consists of letters from Webster's professional friends generally regarding topics of personal interest to Webster. This file is roughly arranged in a chronological fashion by year from 1923 through 1934. There are, however, several letters from December 1924.
Webster owned, bred, and showed English Bulldogs and there is a correspondence group which deals exclusively with this activity. It dates from 1926 through 1937 and is arranged alphabetically by the letters of the alphabet. There is no chronological sequence or alphabetical order within the filing group. For example, all the correspondence concerning showing and raising dogs under the letter "B" within the period 1927 through 1937 is filed together but has no internal arrangement within the filing unit. Separate files have been established by Webster for certain individuals or subjects; these have been placed within the alphabetical order after the appropriate letter of the alphabet. For example, "Pedigrees" has been placed after "P."
The second largest group of material in the Webster papers consists of financial documents, such as insurance receipts, cancelled checks and bank statements, receipts, and invoices. This material covers the periods from 1901-1906 and 1923-1939. It is arranged in an alphabetical letter sequence; the material in these lettered folders has no discernable internal order.
Also included are course notes from Webster's law school days at the University of Michigan, newspaper clippings from his early Superior Court judicial career, undated photographs of Webster and unidentified persons, an undated speech that Webster delivered concerning the relationship between government and business, certificates and documents of appointment to various offices, and obituary material.
Detailed Description of the Collection
The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.