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William J. Walker Papers

Call Number: MS120

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a brief biographical sketch of William J. Walker, correspondence, an extract from Walker's will, and Tufts University resolutions related to Walker's bequests to Tufts University. The materials document Walker's financial bequests to Tufts College.


  • 1861 -- 1909


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see “Reproductions and Use” on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. No documentation is available regarding the intellectual property rights in this collection.

Biographical / Historical

William Johnson Walker was born on March 15, 1789 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the son of Timothy A. Walker and Abigail Johnson Walker. He was prepared for college at Phillips Academy and attended Harvard University, graduating in 1810. He then commenced studying medicine with Dr. John Brooks of Medford, Massachusetts, and eventually graduated from the Massachusetts Medical College in 1813.

During the War of 1812, Walker practiced medicine in France and studied with French physicians. At the end of the war, he relocated to London and continued his studies for six months before returning to his native Charlestown to open a practice. He would later be appointed physician and surgeon of the Massachusetts State Prison and consulting surgeon to the Massachusetts General Hospital.

After practicing medicine for thirty years, Walker turned his attention to manufacturing and railroads, thereby amassing a significant fortune. During his lifetime, he gave $200,000 to Tufts College, the Natural History Society of Boston, Amherst College, Williams College, and the Institute of Technology in Boston. In his will, he gave an additional $800,000 to Tufts College, the Natural History Society of Boston, Amherst College, and the Institute of Technology.

William Walker married Eliza Hurd (1793-1870) in 1816 and they had eight children He died in 1865.


0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



This collection is organized into one series.

Processing status

This collection is processed.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University Repository

35 Professors Row
Tisch Library Building
Tufts University
Medford Massachusetts 02155 United States