Scope and Content
Terms of Access
Lawyer, public official, judge. Born in Seattle in 1903, Frederick G. Hamley graduated from the University of Washington Law School in 1932. While in private practice in Seattle, he became active in city politics as a member of the municipal good-government organization, the New Order of Cincinnatus. With support from the Cincinnatus movement he was elected to the Seattle City Council. He served from 1935 to 1938 along with his close friend, Arthur B. Langlie. In June, 1938, he went from the city council to an administrative post, superintendent of the Seattle Water Department and chairman of the Board of Public Works. He held these positions for only a couple of months.
Hamley functioned as a political adviser to Langlie, mayor of Seattle, 1938-1941, and governor of Washington State, 1941-44, 1949-1957. From August, 1938, through 1940 Hamley worked as an attorney for the Bureau of Reclamation in Grand Coulee, Washington. In 1941 he joined newly elected Governor Langlie in Olympia as his personal legal adviser, then served in various administrative positions, but mainly as director of the Washington Department of Public Service (later known as the State Department of Public Utilities).
In 1943 he moved to Washington, D.C. to become assistant general solicitor of the National Association of Railroad and Utilities Commissioners, and from 1944 to 1949 he served as general solicitor. Hamley returned to Olympia, Washington, in September, 1949, when Governor Langlie appointed him to the Washington State Supreme Court. He served on the court from then until 1956; in 1955 and 1956 he was chief justice.
In 1954, while living in Washington State, Hamley held civic leadership positions. Governor Langlie invited him to serve on his statewide committee on educational television; the committee elected Hamley its chair. Later that year, after a wage dispute led to a long strike in the timber industry, Governor Langlie, with concurrence of Oregon Governor Paul Patterson, appointed Hamley to chair the Governors' Lumber Fact Finding Board.
In 1956 Hamley was appointed by President Eisenhower to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco and served actively until 1971, when he went on senior status. He died in San Francisco in 1975.
Scope and Content
The papers consist of correspondence; political and legal writings, including diaries and legal opinions; reports; and other papers, primarily from Hamley's career in Seattle and Olympia, 1933-1956.
Included in his personal papers is a 700-page typed diary covering Hamley's 1935-36 years on the Seattle City Council and his work on Langlie's 1938 campaign for mayor. The Langlie subgroup contains political correspondence with Langlie when Hamley was in Grand Coulee as well as Langlie speeches, some of which were drafted by Hamley. The New Order of Cincinnatus subgroup contains earlier material such as minutes and publications from the organization's campaigns for municipal reform in Seattle, 1933-1938.
Hamley's personal papers include a subject series, 'Unitarian file.' Although much of the content, 1951-55, consists of mimeographed writings from the Unitarian national office, it also reflects Hamley's search for a Unitarian group with whom he could worship in the Olympia area and the establishment of such a group there. Also documented are arrangements for a 1955 visit by a British Unitarian clergyman with a strong interest in criminal justice.
The subgroup Washington Educational Television Committee shows the work of this statewide group in early planning efforts for a non-commercial educational television system. As chair, Hamley received much commentary on draft recommendations and accumulated considerable material, especially from national regional bodies, on the topic. No minutes of meetings are included. The committee completed its report in 1954.
The subgroup Washington Governor's Lumber Fact Finding Panel includes Hamley's correspondence as chair of this seven-member board in 1954 as well as documents and transcripts from the formal hearings. The panel completed its work in late December, recommending a wage increase but a smaller one than requested by the CIO woodworkers union.
The subgroup National Association of Railroad and Utilities Commissioners dates from Hamley's earlier career as attorney for this body in Washington, D.C. The bulk of this subgroup was created during the latter part of Hamley's service, 1947-1949, during which he was general solicitor. Much content is mimeographed bulletins to state commissions, together with Hamley's or the assistant solicitor's testimony to Congressional committees on proposed legislation affecting transportation. An earlier portion consists of pleadings by Hamley on cases about freight rates before the Interstate Commerce Commission. One large pamphlet-bound folder of correspondence and invitations in the NARUC subgroup was created after Hamley returned to the state of Washington. Much correspondence in it, however, is between Hamley and his former deputy and other professional colleagues.
The Washington Supreme Court subgroup contains opinions, apparently drafted by Hamley before the justices discussed the cases. Of particular significance are notes Hamley kept on cases heard by the court, 1949-1956. On printed forms he briefly noted the positions of his fellow judges and himself on each case. Also included are typed drafts and handwritten notes on some cases.
The subgroup New Order of Cincinnatus documents that municipal reform group's activities, 1934-1938, and Hamley's role in this non-partisan movement. He was active in it when he ran for city council; thus it includes his campaign speeches as well as those he wrote for Arthur Langlie. Also included is a small bit of ephemera from the more militant opposing organization, the Washington Commonwealth Federation. An open reel tape contained an interview by then graduate student George Scott with Hamley in 1963, but a note on the tape box states that the tape is largely blank. Scrapbooks at the end of the papers also document the New Order of Cincinnatus.
The last listed subgroup consists of only one folder from the period in 1938 when Hamley headed the Seattle Water Department. It consists mainly of his memos to Langlie about various municipal issues in Seattle, especially the street railway system.
Terms of Access
Access to archival recordings: Due to the fragility of archival tape recordings, potential users may be required to arrange for transfer to digital format before the material can be accessed. Please contact Special Collections for further information.
Accessions were acquired in 1963, 1970, and 1975 from Hamley and his wife.
The collection is a merger of Accession nos. 405-1, 1498, and 405-3.
|Last modified: February 26, 2009|