William B. Webber (1836-1916) was a prominent Champaign County lawyer, a state legislator, and a mayor of Urbana. He was the son of Thomson R. Webber (1807-81), one of Urbana's most influential pioneer settlers.
This collection reflects the varied nature of law practice in Champaign County during the last half of the nineteenth century, with materials pertaining to real estate, wills and estate administration, schools, and local government. The largest segment of the papers relate to debtor-creditor collections. Other materials reflect Webber's interest and expertise in drainage laws.
There are very few complete case files in the collection. Most items are simply single items--remnants from larger case files that did not survive intact. Since so few case or client files are complete, the collection has not been systematically indexed by client name or case number. As a whole, however, the collection documents the evolution of the practice of law at the end of the nineteenth century, showing the shift from exclusively handwritten documents and pleadings to the use of printed forms, typewriters, and carbon copying.
There is little in the collection reflecting Webber's personal or family life, his service in the Illinois 34th General Assembly (House of Representatives, 1884-85), or his term as Urbana mayor (1893-95). His checklist of Champaign County Democrats (ca. 1886), however, reveals the Democratic constituency in the county at the time.
The papers were donated to the Library in 1998 by William B. Webber's granddaughter, Elizabeth N. Sadtler, of Rockford, Ill.