LaBudde | Judge Reuben F. Roy Collection



- Letter 2 (excerpt): original | transcript
Mrs. Roy to her husband, recounting a women's protest of Sunday whiskey sales in their hometown, 1914


Related Collections By Topic

- Government
- History
- Women & Gender

Scope and Content of Collection

The Judge Reuben F. Roy Collection was acquired through purchase from Carmen D. Valentino, Rare Books and Manuscripts. It contains over 400 letters, mostly octavo or quarto, totaling over 1200 pages, many with their original addressed and stamped envelopes. There are manuscript and typed letters, dating from 1863-1922, relating to the personal life and professional career of Judge Reuben F. Roy, of New London, Ralls County, Missouri.

The collection contains a wide range of letters written to Roy from law colleagues, political leaders and close family members and friends. Many of Roy's friends were school teachers, so the state of education during the 1870s is addressed. There are many references to political personalities and political events of the period as well.

Roy had a large family spread across Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas and there are many letters from family members covering contemporary issues, among them impoverished times, health epidemics, and the Temperance Movement. In letters to her husband, Mrs. Roy speaks of women’s rights and the lack thereof. There are some wonderful letters to Ruth Margaret, Roy’s daughter, from her mother and father, mostly relating to her college life; but unfortunately none from Ruth Margaret to her parents. Because Roy had two brothers who worked as building contractors in Kansas City during the 1880s, there is information relating to Kansas City and its rapid growth during that time.

The collection is rich in late 19th and early 20th century Missouri history, culture and society, especially rural and small town life. Lacking is more concrete information about Roy and his family, and one can only piece together details from names gathered in family letters.

Biographical Sketch

Judge Reuben Finnell Roy, son of Vienna Russell Finnell and Fantley Jackson Roy, was born January 7, 1854, in Marion County, Missouri. He received his education in the common schools and attended Shelby High School in Shelbyville, Missouri, where he later taught mathematics. He was admitted to the bar in 1877 and served as Judge of the Tenth Judicial Circuit from 1893 to 1899.

In 1904 Roy was elected a delegate to the Universal Congress of Lawyers and Jurists, which met in St. Louis, Missouri. As a Republican, he twice ran for Missouri Congress, once in 1908 and again in 1910, failing in both attempts. In 1913, he was appointed by the Supreme Court as a member of the bipartisan commission created by the Forty-sixth General Assembly to aid the Supreme Court; and reappointed for a term of four years ending April 1919.

Roy married Mary Margaret Hays on December 19, 1882, in New London, Missouri. They had two children: George (b. 1891), who died November 29, 1902, of a gunshot wound inflicted by a childhood friend; and Ruth Margaret (b. 1903), who died in 1988. Reuben Roy died in 1922 at the age of 68.


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