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Walter J. Burke Papers

Collection 28

Burke, Walter J. (1866–1941). Papers, 1835–1966, n.d.

5 inches; oversize

Walter James Burke was born on 20 October 1866 in New Iberia, Louisiana, the son of James Lee and Pamela Cannon Burke. He attended private schools in New Iberia, Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, and Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. On 4 February 1890, he married Bertha Perry, and they had ten children. He died 22 January 1941, and is buried at the St. Peter's Cemetery in New Iberia.

Burke was an attorney, politician, and educator. He served in the State Senate from 1912-1916 and was a delegate to the constitutional conventions of 1898, 1913 and 1921. As a state senator he sponsored several significant progressive pieces of legislation, including educational reform bills and the state's first Employer's Liability law. He was a long-time member of the State Board of Education. He was associated with many organizations: the New Iberia Central High School Association, New Iberia Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, and Literary Club.

This collection contains biographical information, correspondence, genealogy material on the Burke and related families; material on Burke’s political career, copies of speeches, newspaper clippings, and other miscellaneous items. Much of this material was assembled by James L. Burke for a proposed biography about his father.

This collection was donated by Mrs. James L. Burke of Houston, Texas and Perry J. Burke of New Iberia. [Many items in this collection were removed from a scrapbook.]


A. Biographical material 1-01 through 1-03; Map Case 31-03
B. Correspondence 1-04 through 1-08
C. Genealogy 1-09 through 1-11
D. Speeches 1-12 through 1-13
E. General material 1-14 through 1-16; Map Case 31-03
F. New Iberia material 1-17 and 1-18


Box 1


Biographical material: 1899-1941, 1966, n.d.


includes obituaries; resolutions honoring Burke; resolutions passed after his death; tribute by T. H. Harris; comments about naming Burke Hall at SLI; biographical sketch; Burke, Porteus R., “Walter James Burke-Public Servant,” paper for History 307, 19 April 1966 [USL] (thermofax)


Biographical material: newspaper clippings and broadsides, 1914-1944


Biographical material: certificates, 1889-1940 (4 items)


See also: Map Case 31-03


Correspondence: 1898-1940, n.d.


correspondents include Elihu Root, Albert Beveridge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harold Ickes, T. Hale Boggs; L. E. Frazar


Correspondence: 1939, 5-6


letters and telegrams about being honored as member of Louisiana bar for 50 years


Correspondence, 1941


letters of condolence to Mrs. Walter J. Burke, James L. Burke [son], or Porteus E. Burke [brother]


Correspondence: 1942-1953, n.d.


mainly letters of James L. Burke to gather material about his father’s career: correspondents include Edward T. Weeks, Sr; Luther E. Hall; and Joel L. Fletcher


Correspondence: 1908, 1931-1940, 1952, n.d.


mainly about family genealogy: letters to or from Porteus E. Burke; James L. Burke to Walter J. Burke; Perry J. Burke



Genealogy: notes


material on: members of Burke family; Perry family, [especially Robert S. Perry]; Cannon family; Layssard family; others


Genealogy: primary documents, 1847 [1853-1859] -1886


mainly unrelated financial documents, some legal material; both originals and copies


Genealogy: printed material


several items on Texas Revolution including “Captain Dimmitt and Colonists,” 4 pp. typescript; newspaper articles on Porteus E. Burke; Perry, Oran. “Recollections of the Civil War,” Indiana History Bulletin, v. 5, #3 (July, 1928), 66 pp; “From the Sixty-Ninth,” [Indiana Regiment] letters dated Oct. 23 (from Camp on Vermillion [sic] River) and Oct. 31 (from New Iberia) published in Richmond [IN?] newspaper, n.d.



Speeches: dated or occasion identified


includes resolution presented at Louisiana Board of Education meeting, August, 1940


Speeches: n.d. and unidentified



Material from legislature service: 1913-1914


Burke-Roberts Employers’ Liability Act, House Bill No. 150; statements re: office stationery and shipping expenses


Photographs: Porteus R. Burke; Burke Hall, SLI


See also: Map Case 31-03: Louisiana Tax Commission, 1913


Material related to proposed biography by James L. Burke, n.d.: commentary; excerpts



New Iberia material: politics, 1899 [originals and photocopies]


Porteus R. Burke; constitutional convention


New Iberia material:


“A History of the St. Peter's Building which was torn down to make room for the present edifice,” n.d. 2 pp., [thermofax]; Bryant, Louis Paul. “Reminiscences of the 60's and 70's”, n.d. 15 pp.