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Guide to the Lewis L. Delafield, Eugene D. Hawkins and Affiliated Attorneys Records
circa 1856-1921 (bulk, 1880s-1910)
 MS 157

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 27, 2022
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical / Historical

The collection was donated to New-York Historical Society in 1947 by Lewis Livingston Delafield, Jr. (1886-1957), who would be more exactly referred to as Lewis Livingston Delafield III. At the time, Delafield III was a member of the law firm Hawkins, Delafield and Wood, which as of 2022 remains in existence, now as a national firm specializing as counsel in finance and infrastructure transactions. The bulk of the records donated to N-YHS in 1947 appear to date from the 1880s or 1890s to 1910, and represent two law firms and certain of their predecessor firms: 1) [Frederick P.] Delafield and Longfellow and 2) [Eugene] Hawkins and [Lewis L.] Delafield. Only a few random matters or later documents added to earlier matters date from after 1910. That 1910 end date is significant because, in 1909, these two law firms merged to become Hawkins, Delafield and Longfellow (which in 1945 took the present firm's name). Accordingly, it appears that the records held by N-YHS essentially all relate to the pre-1910 firms and not to matters handled post-1910 by the merged firm of Hawkins, Delafield and Longfellow. Following are notes about the attorneys and firms represented in the collection.

Lewis Livingston Delafield (1834-1883), or Delafield I, was the son of Joseph Delafield (1790-1875) and Julia Livingston Delafield (1801-1882). Delafield I was an attorney who was admitted to the Bar in 1857. He was a member of at least two firms until about 1871 when he went into practice on his own, notably serving as counsel for various charitable institutions. Delafield I's work as an attorney seems to be represented to a somewhat limited extent in the collection, mostly through his legal case diaries (see Series II), but likely also through scattered matters in the files. More frequently found are documents related to Delafield I's estate, those of his parents, and other Delafield/Livingston family matters. At least some of these documents refer to Joseph and the later Delafields's "Riverdale property," the estate known as "Fieldston."

Delafield I married Emily Prime (1840-1909) in 1862. They had four children, including three sons that would become lawyers. Two are represented extensively in the collection: the eldest, Lewis Livingston Delafield II (1863-1944), and the youngest, Frederick Prime Delafield (1868-1924). The middle son, Robert Hare Delafield (1864-1906), seems to have moved to San Francisco; glimpses of him can be seen in documents concerning his mother's property in Napa Valley (see Series V, box 110).

Lewis Livingston Delafield II graduated from Columbia Law School in 1884 (one year after his father's death) and was admitted to the Bar that year. In 1892, he joined with Eugene D. Hawkins to form Hawkins & Delafield. In 1897, another attorney, Robert Sturgis joined the firm, which was then known as Hawkins, Delafield and Sturgis. Sturgis died in 1900, with the firm's name returning to Hawkins & Delafield until the merger of 1909. From 1894-1899, Delafield II was secretary of the Rapid Transit Commission and over the years he was involved in various civic reform activities, some of which are represented in the collection, up to about 1910. Among other work, he was counsel to the Sailors Snug Harbor in the City of New York, and some of those matters are in the collection. Delafield II married Charlotte Hoffman Wyeth (1859-1947) in 1885; their son, Lewis Livingston Delafield, Jr. (i.e., III) would join his father's law firm by 1918 and was the donor of this collection. Delafield II, who among his positions was also a trustee of New-York Historical Society, retired from his firm in 1934 and died in 1944.

Eugene Dexter Hawkins (1860-1919) graduated from Columbia Law School in 1883 and was admitted to the Bar the same year. He joined his father's, Dexter Arnoll Hawkins, law practice, forming the firm Hawkins & Hawkins. Dexter died in 1886, and in 1892, Eugene joined with Delafield II to form Hawkins & Delafield. Eugene Hawkins was active in Bar Association committees and in various clubs; as Vice-President of the North American Coal & Coke Company; a Director of the Bank of Long Island; and other organizations and corporations. The collection includes some papers related to those activities.

The current firm of Hawkins, Delafield & Woods traces its origins to 1854 and Dexter Arnoll Hawkins' (1825-1886) arrival in New York City to take up law. Dexter was born in Maine and was a civil engineer as an early career. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1848, initially becoming an instructor in pedagogy, but then apprenticing in law in Portland, Maine. In the early 1850s, he traveled to Europe as a member of a law firm, then returning to the U.S., and eventually on to New York. Dexter wrote extensively on matters of education and legislation, as well as on topics such as "On the Anglo-Saxon race: Its history, character, and destiny" (1875). He married a New Yorker, Sophie T. Meeks (approximately 1837-1929); Meeks is a surname that appears frequently in the collection. As noted, their son, Eugene joined his father's law practice in 1883, shortly before Dexter's death in 1886.

Meanwhile, Delafield I's youngest son, Frederick (1868-1924) was also pursuing law. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1888, was admitted to the Bar in 1891, and joined the firm of Hoadley Lauterbach and Johnson as a law clerk. In 1895, Frederick partnered with Benjamin Apthorp Gould, Jr. to form Delafield and Gould. Gould's father was the astronomer, Benjamin Apthorp Gould (1824-1896) and the collection holds documents related to him; see Series I. In 1898, the partners were joined by Frederick W. Longfellow and the firm renamed Delafield, Gould and Longfellow. Gould died in 1900, and the firm renamed to Delafield and Longfellow.

Frederick W. Longfellow was born in 1870 in Maine. He graduated from Harvard in 1901, eventually studying law and moving to New York, where he partnered with Delafield and Gould. In 1901, he married Julia Livingston Delafield (1875-1963), the niece of his partner and of Delafield II. The firm of Delafield and Longfellow continued until 1909 when it merged with Hawkins and Delafield to become Hawkins, Delafield and Longfellow. Longfellow died in 1938; he is buried at Roque Bluffs, Maine (see Series V for related property papers).

In addition to the above principals, two other attorneys were affiliated with the firms and their casework appears in the files. The first is Caleb A. Burbank. Burbank seems to have been affiliated with the Hawkins & Delafield firm and cases related to him are in the collection. But more extensive is documentation in which Burbank is the defendant in an action against him by Mary Newcomb and others in connection with a dispute over the will of Ambrose Burbank, for whom Caleb was executor. Another junior attorney was Philip Keyes Wolcott (1877-1914). Wolcott joined Delafield and Longfellow some time after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1899, and stayed with the post-1909 merged firm. Some of his casework and personal papers are in the files. He died in 1914 from falling (or jumping) from the law firm's 13th floor offices in lower Manhattan.

All of the above named attorneys are represented in the collection. The Hawkins and Delafield (and Sturgis)-related papers makes up the larger portion of the collection. Nonetheless, the Delafield and Longfellow (and Gould) portion is also sizable.

(The above note is based on a variety of on-line sources, including New York Times obituaries and other articles, findagrave.com, and Google Books. Among the Google Books sources were: For Dexter Hawkins: "American Journal of Education," Vol 31 (1881), pg 129-134; For Eugene Hawkins: "Yearbook 1920 of the Association of the Bar of New York City," memorial written by Delafield II, pg 174-176; For Delafield II: "New York History," Vol 26, No. 1 (Jan 1945) obituary, pg 125-126; For the Delafields generally: "Genealogies of the State of New York: A Record of the Achievements", Vol II, pg 797-798; For an entry on the Hawkins, Delafield & Longfellow firm: The American Bar directory, 1918, pg 455.)