Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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JAMES KINGSLEY BLAKE was born in New Haven on September 17th, 1870, and lived there continuously until his death on August 28th, 1911. He was of New England ancestry and his family have long been active and prominent in the life of the community. His father, Henry T. Blake, is a member of the Bar of long and honorable standing, who since his retirement from practice has devoted himself actively to unselfish public service. His maternal grandfather, James L. Kingsley, was a distinguished Latin scholar and was for many years Professor of Hebrew, Greek and Latin in Yale College.
He prepared for Yale in the New Haven High School, and graduated from the Academic Department in 1891 and from the Law School in 1893. He maintained a high stand in scholarship and was prominent in the social life of the departments in which he studied.
Upon his admission to the Bar in 1893, he entered the law office. of Clark & Swan, and shortly became a member of the firm. He later held the positions of assistant clerk and clerk of the Court of Probate. Shortly after his retirement from the latter clerkship he was appointed assistant corporation counsel of the City of New Haven, and held this position for about two years. In 1904 he was appointed by the Judges of the Superior Court a member of the State Bar Examining Committee, and served as secretary of the committee for the period of five years. In 1908 he entered into partnership with Henry C. White and Leonard A. Daggett, under the firm name of White, Daggett & Blake, and continued in active practice as a member of this firm until his death.
He was a man of broad general interests and entered largely into the active social and religious life of the community. In a characteristically quiet, and modest way he performed all of the duties of good citizenship which he was called upon to perform, and was always ready to sacrifice personal interests and comfort to any undertaking or cause which contributed to the welfare and happiness of others.
His nature was such as to inspire a kindly feeling among those who knew him only slightly. To such he was always courteous in manner and considerate and thoughtful in speech and action. He saw and appreciated the best side of any character. Better acquaintance more particularly disclosed his broad general education and culture, sound knowledge, and characteristically quaint wit and humor. He never failed to see and grasp the humorous elements of a situation, his wit was spontaneous and original, and he had the gift of apt expression. This unusual combination of qualities was shown in frequent writings in prose and verse, sometimes illustrated by clever and original sketches, and many of rare literary quality. He naturally formed close friendships with people of culture and serious interests, and in the social life of which he was a part his congenial and stimulating presence was always felt.
In his professional life the maintenance of the highest ethical standard was simply a natural and matter-of-course proceeding. While his disposition and tastes led him to prefer office practice, he frequently appeared in court, and such appearances were marked by able presentation and a thorough mastery of the questions of law and fact involved. He was especially familiar with probate law and practice. The dominating motive of his work was useful service well performed, and he was incapable of subordinating this motive to any real or fancied immediate personal advantage. His ability, industry and high personal character brought him a substantial and growing practice. He thus realized the less immediate but more enduring advantage of an ultimate success which was fully recognized in the community in which he lived, and which carried with it the highest degree of respect and good will.[footer.htm]