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Thomas Autograph Collection
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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.
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.
4.5 Linear feet
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.
The collection is open for research.