Duke Family Papers
Richard Thomas Walker Duke, Jr. and the Duke Family Papers at the University of Virginia
Between 1899 and 1926, Richard Thomas Walker Duke, Jr., a prominent Albemarle County, Virginia, jurist and civic leader, recorded the most memorable events of his life in five, leather-bound volumes for the benefit of his children. This website contains digital images of these Recollections, as well as digital reproductions of his Diaries and contextual information on Duke’s family, his interests, and the places important to him.
This prolific writer captured Virginia, from the perspective of a propertied white male, in a season of precipitous change. The seignoral, slave-based society of Duke’s childhood gave way to a world of automobiles, railroads, and telephones, with new political alliances competing for power in his native state. Many of the projects that Duke undertook during his lifetime–including the memorialization of the Confederacy, advocacy for the Democratic Party, even the practice of law–involved his attempts to reestablish a modicum of order amid so many transitions.
Those with a further interest in the Duke family will find additional reference material under “Resources.”