A Collection in
the Virginia Historical Society
Collection Number Mss1 M455 g FA2
Virginia Historical SocietyContact Information:
Virginia Historical Society
P.O. Box 7311
Richmond, Virginia 23221-0311
Phone: (804) 342-9677
Fax: (804) 355-2399
Processed by: Virginia Historical Society Staff
Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
© 2002 By Virginia Historical Society. All rights reserved.
Collection is open for use
Permission to cite, quote, or reproduce for publication must be obtained in writing from the Senior Archivist.
David John Mays Papers, 1905-1985 (Mss1 M455 g FA2), Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia.
Bequest and gift of the estate of Mrs. Ruth (Reams) Mays, Richmond, Va., 2 December 1985.
David J. Mays was born in Richmond, Va., 22 November 1896, but spent most of his youth in Mobile, Ala., and Memphis, Tenn. His parents were Harvey James Mays and Helga Christine Nelsen, both Richmond natives. Mays saw service on the Mexican border, 1916-1917, and in France with the Allied Expeditionary Force, 1918-1919. After World War I he attended the University of Richmond and received his law degree in 1924. He practices in Richmond throughout his life, and died on 17 February 1971.
Include diaries, 1916, 1925-1928, and 1938, scrapbooks, 1916-1971, correspondence, accounts, tax and land records, materials concerning his law practice, and historical research on Edmund Pendleton (1721- 1803) and Virginia judges, particularly Spencer Roane, Henry St. George Tucker, and St. George Tucker.
Significant correspondents include Julian Parks Boyd, Harry Flood Byrd, Harry Flood Byrd, Jr., Andrew Jackson Montague, John Garland Pollard, Lewis Franklin Powell, and Absalom Willis Robertson. The scrapbooks cover Mays's entire career, consisting mostly of newspaper clippings on his political, social, legal and community activities. Beginning in 1955, they document his work as counsel to the Virginia Commission on Public Education (the so-called Gray Commission) and his service in the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1956 and the Virginia Commission on Constitutional Government. From 1959-1963, the volumes largely concern May's involvement in the proposed merger of Richmond and Henrico County.
Collection is arranged into eight sections by document type.
diary, 1916, 1925-1918, 1938; general correspondence, 1905, 1914-1939, 1950-1954, 1957-1964.
general correspondence, 1965-1966, 1969-1970; loose accounts, 1942-1954, 1959-1966; income tax records, 1951-1952, 1954, 1967-1969; law practice (general materials and financial records, 1924-1930, 1933-1960; application to practice before U. S. Supreme Court, 1950-1953; business law course, University of Richmond, 19261927; materials as president, Virginia State Bar Association, 1958-1959; anecdotes of the Richmond bar, 1962; Virginia Commission on Constitutional Government, 1962-1966); autobiographical notes; real property records (Gregory's Mill Pond, Chesterfield County; Colonial Avenue, Richmond; Memphis, Tenn.); birth and marriage certificates, passports, 1959-1969; military service records, 1916-1924.
student essays, 1911-1920; speeches; miscellaneous appointments (see oversize); Nelsen family property, Myrtle Grove, Henrico County; Hugh Douglas Pitts and Robert Lee Pitts materials; news clippings; personal miscellany.
Edmund Pendleton biography: general correspondence, 1926-1952 (arranged alphabetically); notes; contract with publisher; memoranda; gallery proof; awards, reviews, financial matters; post-publication correspondence, 1952-1956 (arranged chronologically); speaking engagements and book-related appearances; 1985 reprinting; Pendleton letters and papers (general correspondence, 1957-1964; chronological contents list; note cards; copies and transcripts; reviews and articles).
biographical sketches of Virginia judges; historical research files on Spencer Roane, Henry St. George Tucker, St. George Tucker.
John Taylor letters and papers (general correspondence, 1946-1952, 1956-1966; copies and transcripts; notes; Mays estate agreement); George Wythe speech, 1964; Marbury v. Madison speech, 1954; Virginia Colonial Records Project; reviews, essays, miscellaneous historical notes; resolutions on death of Mays and estate materials.
general correspondence, 1937, 1951, 1971-1979; loose accounts, 1970-1979; check stub book, 1977-1979; birth certificates, passports, etc.; inventory of household effects; guarantees; lines of verse.