A native of Caroline County and a life-long Quaker, James Hoge Ricks (1886-1958) studied at Guilford College in North Carolina (A.B, 1905) and T. C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond (LL.B., 1908). He was admitted to the Bar in 1909 and became clerk and parole officer of the Juvenile Division of Police Court in 1912.
In 1916, James Hoge Ricks became a judge of the new court at age twenty-nine and held the position until his retirement in 1956. The juvenile court movement was an outgrowth of the Progressive era, and throughout his life, Judge Ricks remained active in various social movements spawned by "humanitarian progressives" and the National Conference of Social Work (prior to 1917, the National Conference of Charities and Corrections).
Ricks was a founder and vice-president of the National Conference of Juvenile Court Judges, an organizer and officer of the Richmond Community Fund, and twice president of the National Probation Association. Detailed biographical notes compiled by graduate student George Curtis are filed at the head of Box 1.
Among the more useful files are those pertaining to the City Charter Commission (valuable detail on the structure of the court and proposed changes), the Social Service Bureau (interesting statistical information on the early 1940's), and the 1925-1926 survey of the court (outlines of court and community services and recommendations).
Scholars may wish to consult the following unpublished dissertation which draws upon the materials in these and other files: George B. Curtis, "The Juvenile Court Movement in Virginia: The Child Savers, 1880-1973," University of Virginia, 1973.