McDowell, John W.,
Group of 8 Manuscript Diaries of prominent Washington, Pennsylvania attorney, John W. McDowell, 1908-1915.

8 volumes, quarto, bound in original ¼ and ½ leather, and cloth covered boards, all volumes show rubbing and wear to edges, corners, spines, with one volume lacking spine, a couple of others having chipped spines. The diaries were kept in a legible hand and are written in ink. Each page of the diary is two days, with about ¾ of the days filled in. The amount of days where entries were filled in are as follows: 1908 - 233 entries; 1909 - 275 entries; 1910 - 293 entries; 1911 - 319 entries; 1912 - 291 entries; 1913 - 250 entries ; 1914 - 287 entries; 1915 -  285 entries, for a total of 2233 entries out of a possible 2922, or 76% of the diaries are completed.

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          Most of the entries have to do with his legal profession, discussing such matters as court cases, divorces, deeds and mortgages, guardianships, slander, bankruptcies, marriage applications, estate settlements, etc. There are however numerous personal entries as well.

            John W. McDowell was the son of James W. and Nancy J. (Rea) McDowell. He was born in Washington, Pennsylvania, November 22, 1875. His father, James, was born in 1842, and was a graduate of Washington and Jefferson College (Class of 1866). The senior McDowell was admitted to the bar and practiced as an attorney for the rest of his life, his son John becoming the junior partner of the firm upon completing college.

             John W. McDowell's early education took place in the local grammar schools. He covered his preliminary course at the preparatory department of Washington and Jefferson College, than entered the classical department of the same institution, from which he was graduated in the class of 1896, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Reading law with his father, McDowell was admitted to the bar in 1900, later, also like his father, being admitted to both the Superior and Supreme Courts of the State. He stood among the prominent men of the day in the profession, and was a member of the Pennsylvania State Bar Association and the Washington County Bar Association. Politically, he was associated with the Democratic Party and served in various local municipal offices.

            Fraternally, John W. McDowell held memberships in the Washington Lodge, No. 164, Free and Accepted Masons and in Jacques de Molay Commandery, Knights Templar. He was a charter member of the exclusive Bassett Club of Washington, as well as an avid golfer, holding a membership to the Washington County Golf and Country Club.

            On October 15, 1908, McDowell married Margaret Junk (1875-1948), daughter of James Junk (1841-1903) and Louisa Wells (1840-1913), of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, both families were early settlers of the Brownsville District of that county. Margaret was a graduate of Washington Seminary, active in civic affairs and welfare work, and a director of the Young Women's Christian Association and a member of the Current Events Club. Together the McDowell's had one daughter, Nancy Louise McDowell. They made their home in East Washington.