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Reuben Gold Thwaites papers, 1843-1960

Thwaites, Reuben Gold, 1853-1913

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  • RESTRICTED: Use of nitrate negatives restricted. Consult reference archivist regarding access to negatives.


  • Papers of Reuben Gold Thwaites, a historian and superintendent of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1887-1913, together with papers of his son geologist Frederick Turville Thwaites and Frederick's wife Amy Mueller Thwaites, his father-in-law Henry Turvil, and other relatives. Reuben Gold Thwaites' papers chiefly consist of correspondence and drafts and notes for speeches and articles on American and Wisconsin history. Correspondents include historians Frederick Jackson Turner, James Ford Rhodes, and Albert Bushnell Hart; Richard T. Ely concerning land investments; and Lucius Fairchild, Cyrus McCormick Jr., Ida Tarbell, Charles Van Hise, and William F. Vilas. Some notes relate to published interviews with Andrew J. and Peter J. Vieau, Morgan L. Martin, and Alexis Clermont. There are also notes for travel that became the subject of writings including a journey by boat down the Fox, Ohio, Rock, and Wisconsin Rivers; a trip by bicycle through Virginia; and travel in Great Britain and Ireland. The correspondence is chiefly professional in nature, covering Thwaites' writing career and relations with other historians and professional organizations. Also included are notes taken during classes with William Graham Sumner, Francis A. Walker, and others; detailed household account books, 1882-1929; house plans and elevations drawn by William Schuchart; and extensive photographs documenting family life and travel. The fragmentary papers of his wife Jessie Turvil Thwaites include diaries and records relating to a history study club organized by Anna Sheldon. The papers of Frederick T. Thwaites consist of diaries, account books, personal correspondence exchanged with his wife Amy Mueller Thwaites, professional correspondence related to the Geology Department of the University of Wisconsin and the U.S. Geological Survey, and many scientific photographs. Henry Turvil Sr., a Madison area farmer, and several of his sons are represented by diaries and account books.


  • Portions of this collection are available only on microfilm.
  • Reuben Gold Thwaites Papers held by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin concerning the publication of Lewis and Clark journals are cataloged as a separate collection.
  • Portions presented by Mrs. Reuben Gold Thwaites, 1927-1938; portions presented by William and Carol Thwaites, La Mesa, California, 1986, and other material held on deposit without accessioning.
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