Laurence Breed Walker was the founder of the Collection that now bears his name. He was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, 7 June 1895. Allan Breed, Lynn’s first settler was his eighth generation. Walker was also descended from Peter Walker, the first settler in Taunton (MA) in 1634. He was also direct in line from his grandmother Walker from Robert Treat Paine who was a prominent signer of Declaration of Independence.
Graduate of Lynn Classical High School as well Boston’s Huntington School. Mr. Walker also studied at Trinity College and Harvard.
Walker was a minister in various parishes throughout Ohio and northern New England. Walker was also a highly sought-after public speaker and hosted his own radio talk show, which aired on a Boston station between the mid 1930s and the mid 1940s. Walker was very interested in politics, world affairs, and other topics.
Walker’s fascination with railroading and transportation began in his youth, when he was traveling with his father who was a lawyer for several New England railroads. Walker started taking photos in his teens and has never stopped documenting railroad equipment and scenes.
Walker was severely handicapped in middle age due to polio. However, he never lost his love for people and life. Walker’s hobby of documenting New England’s transportation history became a full-time job that kept him busy day and night. Walker maintained a close relationship with dozens of people from his tiny apartment and published a respected transportation newsletter.
Walker decided to leave his collection to Beverly Historical Society as his health began to decline in the late l960s. The material was moved to Cabot House’s basement floor, where it remained until Walker’s death in 1969. It is now the heart of a much expanded and highly-respected collection. The Collection is housed in an environment that both allows the researcher and casual visitor to enjoy its many holdings. A dedicated staff of transportation enthusiasts maintains the Collection. It’s a fitting tribute to Mr. Walker.