Scope and Content of Collection
Language of Material:
SJSU Special Collections & Archives
Title: Thomas Autograph Collection
Identifier/Call Number: MSS.2010.06.28
4.5 Linear feet
Date (bulk): Bulk, 1885-1910
Date (inclusive): 1870-1945 1885-1910
Abstract: The Thomas Autograph Collection, 1870-1945 (bulk 1885-1910) contains correspondence collected by the Thomas family, who were
active community members of Woodland, California. Charles W. Thomas collected the autographs of well-known literary and public
figures during the late 19th Century. This collection of autograph letters includes George Washington Cable, Samuel Clemens
(Mark Twain), Oliver Wendell Holmes, David Starr Jordan, and others. The collection also includes correspondence from Thomas
relatives and close friends, such as the Markham family and Calthea C. Vivian. Henriette G. Thomas, the daughter of Charles
W. Thomas, inherited her parents' autograph and correspondence collection, and added to it some of her own letters, before
donating the collection to the San Jose State College Library in 1965.
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
The collection is open for research.
Copyright is assigned to the San José State University Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish
or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication
is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives. Copyright restrictions may apply to digital reproductions of the
original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.
Thomas Autograph Collection, MSS-2010-06-28, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.
Collection processed by Jeffra D. Bussman. Additional processing by Lisa Zakharova. Finding aid EAD encoded by Lisa Zakharova.
Reviewed by Danelle Moon and Erin Louthen.
Born in October 1852 to George W. and Doritha M. Thomas, Charles W. Thomas lived in Kentucky until the late 1850s when his
family moved to Missouri. He attended Missouri State Normal School of the First District, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts
and Didactics in 1875. On August 5th, 1879, Charles married classmate and fellow graduate Serelda Gilstrap. Both worked as
teachers in Missouri, but Mr. Thomas soon left the teaching profession to pursue law. He passed the Missouri bar in 1878 and
worked as a clerk of the Missouri Senate Judiciary Committee in 1879. Mrs. Thomas continued to teach while earning a Master
of Arts and Didactics degree. In the 1880s, the Thomas family moved to Woodland, California, where they were active charter
members of the Woodland Shakespeare Club. In 1882, Mrs. Thomas became a book reviewer for the local newspaper, The Woodland
Democrat. Charles W. Thomas was an avid collector of autographs by well known literary and public figures from the 19th century.
It was their daughter, Henriette G. Thomas, a local San Jose High School librarian, who inherited the correspondence collection,
which she added to before she bequeathed the autograph collection to the San Jose State College library in 1965.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Thomas Autograph Collection, 1870-1945 (bulk 1885-1910), consists primarily of correspondence collected by the Thomas
family, who were active community members of Woodland, California. This collection includes autographs of well-known individuals
such as George Washington Cable, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Oliver Wendell Holmes, David Starr Jordan, and others. The collection
also includes correspondence from Thomas family relatives and close friends, such as the Markham family and Calthea C. Vivian.
Henriette G. Thomas, a San Jose High School librarian and the daughter of Charles W. Thomas, inherited her parents' autograph
and correspondence collection, and added to it some of her own letters. Also included is a small collection of miscellany
that consists of newspaper clippings, an autograph book, an audio cassette tape of an interview with Mrs. Ralph Wyckoff, who
was a close friend of Mrs. Henriette Thomas, program and poem booklets, and photographs. The bulk of the material dates from
1885-1910. All of the original correspondence related to Edwin Markham have been separated from this collection, and are now
part of the Edwin Markham Collection.
This single series collection is arranged alphabetically by author surname, and chronologically by date. Additional ephemera
and miscellaneous items are located in box 3.
Edwin Markham collection, MSS-2005-10-01, San Jose State University Library Special Collections and Archives.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Markham, Edwin, 1852-1940
Thomas, Henriette G.
Twain, Mark, 1835-1910