William Franklin Jenkins family papers, 1868-1967

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Jenkins, William Franklin, 1876-1961.
Title: William Franklin Jenkins family papers, 1868-1967
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 448
Extent: 2 linear feet (4 boxes), 3 bound volumes (BV), and 1 oversized papers box (OP)
Abstract:Family papers of Georgia justice William Franklin Jenkins including correspondence, manuscripts, poems, printed materials, notebooks, and a scrapbook.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Gift, 1966, with subsequent additions.


[after identification of item(s)], William Franklin Jenkins family papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


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Collection Description

Biographical Note

William Franklin Jenkins was born on September 7, 1876 near Friendship in Webster County, Georgia. He was the son of Judge W. Frank (William Franklin) (b. 1845) and Leila Head Jenkins and was raised in Eatonton, where he attended the public schools. He went to the University of Virginia (1893-1894) and received his law degree from the University of Georgia in 1896. He practiced law with his father in Eatonton until 1909, serving as mayor (1902-1903) and as the representative from Putnam County in the Georgia General Assembly (1905-1906). A life-long Democrat, Jenkins held several offices in the state party. In 1916, he was a Georgia delegate to the National Democratic Convention. The same year, he was elected to a seat on the Georgia Court of Appeals, and in 1920 he became the Presiding Justice. He held that position without opposition until 1936. In that year, a vacancy having occurred on the bench of the Georgia Supreme Court, his friends urged him to seek that office. He did so, and won without opposition. On January 1, 1947, Jenkins was named Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia. He retired from the Court in September 1948, after 32 years of distinguished public service, to accept a teaching position in Emory University's Law School. He was a trustee of Mercer University, president of the board of trustees of the Eatonton public school system, and president of the Putnam County Board of Education. Jenkins was a Baptist. Jenkins was the author of many addresses, articles, and poems. In 1955, he published a book of poems entitled Afterthoughts. In 1899, Jenkins married Susie May Thomas. The Jenkins' had two children-George Thomas Jenkins and Mrs. Joseph H. Owens. After his wife died, Jenkins went live with his daughter in Roanoke, Alabama. He died in December, 1961, in Roanoke and was buried in Eatonton.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of William Franklin Jenkins and his family from 1868-1967. The papers include correspondence, manuscripts, notes, poems, printed materials, notebooks, and a scrapbook. The correspondence concerns law, Eatonton, Georgia, Jenkins' poetry, and the public response to Afterthoughts. Manuscripts are of articles and addresses; notes are for speeches; printed materials include articles by and about Jenkins; the scrapbook was compiled by Jenkins as a boy; poems are by Jenkins; photographs are of the Jenkins family, Jenkins's swearing-in ceremony with Governor Eugene Talmadge, and his Eatonton home.

The family papers include correspondence, ledger books, notebooks, photographs, and printed material. The correspondence is primarily addressed to W. Frank Jenkins, Sr. and relates to his work as a lawyer and judge in Putnam County. Also included is personal correspondence to and from his wife and children. The ledger books belonged to W. Frank Jenkins, Sr. and record his finances for the years 1877-1883. The collection also includes some printed material, including a history of the Eatonton Kiwanis Club (1967), diplomas, and a photograph of an unidentified military band.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by record type.

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Container List

William Franklin Jenkins, Jr.
Box Folder Content
1 1 Awards
1 2 Correspondence: 1895-1939
1 3 Correspondence: 1944-1952
1 4 Correspondence: 1952-1959 and undated
1 5 Correspondence re: Afterthoughts: 1955
1 6 Correspondence re: Afterthoughts: 1955-1956
1 7 Correspondence re: Poetry
1 8 Correspondence re: Poetry: Poem Titles A-L
1 9 Correspondence re: Poetry: Poem Titles M-Z
1 10 Emory Law School: Class Roll for Legal Ethics, 1957-1958
1 11 Emory Law School: Lectures, 1951, 1952 [2 volumes]
1 12 Newspaper Clippings
1 13 Notebook, Latin exercises, University of Virginia, 1893-1894
2 1 Notes on Talks: 1908-1929
2 2 Notes on Talks: 1930-1937
2 3 Notes on Talks: 1939-1940
2 4 Notes on Talks: 1945-1950
2 5 Notes on Talks: undated
2 6 Photographs
OP1 1 Photographs (oversized)
2 7 Scrapbook, 1884-1894
Writings about WFJ
3 1 Biography of William Franklin Jenkins [his father]
3 2 Portrait Presentation, Georgia Bar Association, n.d.
3 3 Printed Materials, 1924-1954
OP1 2 Writings about WFJ: Printed Materials, 1957
3 4 Testimonial Dinner in Honor of Chief Justice Emeritus William Franklin Jenkins, Georgia Bar Association, Atlanta, 1949
3 5 "William Franklin Jenkins—Scholar and Gentleman," Sigma Nu event, 1948 or 1949
Writings by WFJ
3 6 Addresses: "Nicholas Breton and the Shakespeare Sonnets," Ten Club, Atlanta, 1956; correspondence, 1928 and 1940
3 7 Addresses: "City Beautiful," Mayors' Convention, Atlanta, 1940
3 8 Addresses: "Confederate Memorial Day," Madison, Ga., 1911 or 1915
3 9 Addresses: "Sonnets of Shakespeare," Ten Club, Atlanta, 1927
3 10 Addresses: "Speculations," [about atomic energy], date unclear
3 11 Addresses: "Tribute to Chief Justice Chas. R. Reid," n.d.
3 12 Addresses: "Turkey," Ten Club, Atlanta, 1954
3 13 Addresses: "Unselfish Service," commencement address, Eatonton, 1926
3 14 Poetry: Afterthoughts, 1955
3 15 Poetry: Notes on Poetry and on Book Plans
3 16 Poetry: Poems
OP1 2 Poetry: Poems (oversized)
3 17 Published Articles and Addresses
3 18 The Smoky Letters, 1936
Family papers
4 Certificate, Frank Jenkins, Common School of Georgia, 1923
4 1 Correspondence, undated
4 2 Correspondence, 1868-1921
4 Diploma, Franklin Robert Jenkins, University of Texas, 1933
BV1 Ledger, W. Frank Jenkins, Sr., undated
BV2 Ledger, W. Frank Jenkins, Sr., 1877-1883
BV3 Ledger, W. Frank Jenkins, Sr., 1880-1883
4 4 Photograph, unidentified military band, undated
4 5 Printed Material
4 6 Printed Material, Eatonton Kiwanis Club History, 1967