Necrology of Toledo's Woodlawn Cemetery

Robinson Locke

Robinson Locke was born in Plymouth, Ohio, March 15, 1856. Robinsons father, David Ross Locke, was the nationally known writer who wrote under the name of Petroleum V. Nasby. Robinson worked for his father as a reporter at the Blade, and in 1888, upon the death of his father, Robinson Locke took charge of the newspaper. He found that the weekly edition of the Blade had a wide national circulation, but the daily edition of the Blade only had influence in the community it served. When he became president of the company and editor of the paper, Locke sought to reverse this order. Throughout the years the daily edition prospered and its scope of influence gradually increased.(The Toledo Blade, 22 June 1936).

Robinson Locke was able to become a successful newspaper owner as he knew the fundamentals of the work. His father gave ideas and policies which had been broadened by their extensive travels together. When Robinson, also known as Bob by his close friends, accompanied his father to Europe early in 1881, he aided him in writing the "Nasby in Exile" articles.(Ibid).

In the fall of 1881 Robinson returned to Europe to study German, French, and music. He and his father again toured the continent together. Robinson Locke wrote extensively on his travels. His work, "Days and Nights in Old Japan," was among his most regarded efforts and appeared in the Blade.(Ibid).

Locke came home in 1883. Shortly after his arrival, he received an appointment as United States consul to Newcastle-on-Tyne by President Arthur. This position was terminated in 1885 when President Cleveland assumed office.(Ibid).

Locke was always interested in theater and was a close student of ancient and modern drama. For twenty-five years he wrote pieces concerning the stage and actors. His critiques, which appeared in the Blade, were influential. His fluent writing style appealed to the casual reader as well as the thoughtful student.(Ibid., 21 April 1920).

In addition, he owned a biographical library of actors and actresses from America and England. In fact, his walls in the old Blade building on Jefferson Avenue and Superior Street were covered with autographed portraits of them. He assembled a collection of theatrical materials with every prominent member of the profession, and each of these people had from one to eight bound volumes. This great collection was bequeathed by Mr. Locke to the New York Public Library where it is now made accessible.(Ibid., 22 June 1936).

On July 15, 1886, Robinson Locke married Kate King of Toledo. She died eight years later on January 6, 1894.(Ibid., 21 April 1920). In 1909 Robinson Locke married Mabel Dunham. She was born in Boston and moved to Toledo after they married. She lived here until she moved back to New York in 1924. As Mabel Dixey, Mrs. Locke had a brief career as an actress before her marriage. She passed away in February, 1968.(Ibid., 12 February 1968).

Robinson Locke, an active leader in civic affairs in Toledo, died April 20, 1920. Not only was he one of the early benefactors of the Toledo Public Library and a member of the school board, he was one of the incorporators of the Toledo Museum of Art. Locke was the first vice-president of the board of trustees of this institution from 1901 to 1911. Furthermore, he was one of the founders of the Civic Music League, a member of the National Geographical Society and played a role in founding the Northwestern Ohio Historical Society in which he was a member.(Ibid., 21 April 1920).


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