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W. May Walker Papers

 Collection — Container: 47 boxes
Identifier: MSS 1976-012

Scope and Contents

The papers of Judge W. May Walker cover all aspects of his legal career, and include correspondence, committee papers, legislative papers, rulings and opinions, as well as papers concerning particular cases. Judge Walker served as County Judge of Leon County and on the bench of the 2nd Judicial Circuit. Most of the papers in the collection cover the 1940s until his death, September 16, 1974. The Honorable Judge presided over many important cases covering such topics as civil rights, rape, and capital punishment. Included in the collection are papers belonging to his father, Nat R. Walker.

Dates

  • Created: 1901-1974
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1925-1974
  • Other: Date acquired: 00/00/1976

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to all researchers. Users may access this collection at the Claude Pepper Library.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries 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 researcher.

Biographical or Historical Information

The Honorable Judge W. May Walker was born William May Walker in Crawfordville, Wakulla County, Florida on May 2, 1905, the son of Nat R. Walker and Alice (Tully) Walker, both of Crawfordville. The judge acquired his name from his grandfather, as did a number of others in the Walker family. In his boyhood, his full name of William May was shortened to May. At the age of ten, both Walker parents died and he was sent to live with an aunt in Leon County. After attending public schools in Leon County, he received his Bachelor of Law degree from Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1927. That same year, after passing the Florida Bar exam, he began to practice of law in Tallahassee.

In 1932 he made his first bid for public office, running for County Judge of Leon County, Florida and won over his two opponents in the first primary. He was re-elected in 1936 for another four years, He served as county judge and ex-officio juvenile court judge for Leon County for eight years before being elected to the circuit bench. Walker was nominated in 1940 to replace retiring Judge J.B. Johnson. But before Walker assumed the position of circuit court judge, Judge Johnson died. Walker was appointed to fill Johnson's unexpired term. Running unopposed, he was elected to that post until his death on September, 16, 1974.

He married Pansy Crosby, daughter of Joseph and Nora Horton Crosby in 1937 and had two sons, W. May Walker, Jr. and Joseph Stanley Walker. During his lengthy career, Judge Walker served on the Florida Supreme Court and presided over many important and internationally known cases on such issues as rape and capital punishment.

Active in many professional organizations, Judge Walker was a member of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, the American Judicature Society, the Tallahassee Bar, the Florida State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Conference of State Trial Judges.

He was a 32-degree Scottish Rite Mason, Shriner, and a member of the Tallahassee Area Chamber of Commerce, the Woodmen of the World, the Seminole Boosters, the Florida Heritage Foundation, the Tallahassee Junior Museum, and the Florida Sheriffs' Association. He was also very active in the First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, where he taught Sunday school for several years and was ordained as a deacon in 1942.

Included in the collection are papers belonging to his father Nat R. Walker. Nat Walker began his law career as a Clerk in the Court of Wakulla County. During the twelve years he served as County Clerk, he read and studied law. In 1880 Nat R. Walker was admitted to practice, finished his law courses and received a Bachelor of Law degree from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Nat Walker was elected to serve in the Florida House of Representatives in 1893, 1899, and 1917. He also served as the Reading Clerk of the House for thirty years.

Extent

47.00 boxes (47 boxes)

18.80 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The collection includes correspondence, committee papers, legislative papers, and legal papers such as rulings, opinions, and papers concerning particular cases. Judge Walker serived as County Judge of Leon County and on the bench of the 2nd Judicial Circuit. The great majority of the papers in the collection cover the time period from the 1940s until the time of his death, September 16, 1974. The collection includes the papers of Judge Walker's father, Nat R. Walker.

Physical Location

Claude Pepper Library.

Custodial History

Staff members of the Special Collections Department processed the majority of this collection in August 1976. The final two boxes, comprised of the Personal Business Papers, was only partially processed and remained in that state until February 2002 when it was processed and the finding aid updated. In 2003 a NHRPC grant was awarded to the Special Collections Department to improve access to the civil rights manuscripts housed in the department. In August of 2003 a processing plan was developed stipulating that materials be re-housed according to archival standards. To improve access, all folders were labeled and all folders and boxes were re-numbered. Work was completed in November, 2003.

Source of Acquisition

Given by Pansy Walker

Method of Acquisition

The W. May Walker Papers were given directly to the Special Collections Department, Florida State University Libraries, by Pansy Walker of Tallahassee, Florida, in 1976.

Processing Information

Staff members of the Special Collections Department processed the majority of this collection in August 1976.  The final two Boxes, comprised of the Personal Business Papers, was only partially processed and remained in that state until February 2002 when it was processed and the finding aid updated.  In 2003 an NHRPC grant was awarded to the Special Collection Department to improve access to the civil rights manuscripts housed in the department.  In August of 2003 a processing plan was developed stipulating that materials be re-housed according to archival standards.  To improve access, all folders were labeled and all folders and Boxes were re-numbered.  Work was completed in November 2003.
Title
W. May Walker Papers
Author
Julie Uhland
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
eng

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

Contact:
116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US
850-644-3271