MsC 101

  Manuscript Register


Collection Dates:1904 -- 1962
6 inches

This document describes a collection of materials held by the
Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420
Phone: 319-335-5921
Fax: 319-335-5900

Posted to Internet March 2002

Acquisitions Note: These papers were donated to the University of Iowa in 1964 by the judge's son, Reynolds Brown Thomas.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

Copyright:  Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on "Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials"

Use of Collections:  The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.

Abbreviations: For an explanation of the abbreviation and dating conventions used in the finding aids, see Abbreviations.


Seth Thomas (1873-1962) began his career teaching school in West Virginia. In 1893, he became the principal of public schools in Mason City, West Virginia. During the summers he attended college, enrolling in summer sessions at Central Normal College in Danville, Indiana, and at the University of West Virginia at Morgantown. Thomas moved to Iowa in 1900, where he worked as a traveling salesman for a seed house in Independence. Returning to college, he attended the University of Iowa from 1901-1902. In 1902, he again became a principal, this time of a high school in Washington, Iowa. This time he attended summer sessions at the University of Iowa and earned his in Ph.B. (1904), M.A. (1906), and LL.B. (1910).

Thomas was admitted to the bar in 1910 and began practicing law. He was the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa from 1914 through 1921. In 1933, he was appointed Solicitor of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Two years later he became a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge for Iowa's 8th Circuit. Judge Thomas remained in that position until his retirement in 1954.


The papers of Seth Thomas consist of 292 items dating from 1904 through 1962. Judge Thomas' life and career are documented in this collection, from a genealogy of the Thomas family to memorials for the judge himself. His years spent as an educator are reflected in speeches, correspondence, and material from the Iowa Schoolmasters Walt Whitman Club. His legal and judicial careers are chronicled with speeches, court cases, and correspondence including letters from Henry N. Graven and John B. Sanborn.

 Box 1

 Buena Vista County Farm, 1936 --1942. Including correspondence, financial records, legal papers, etc.

Correspondence, 1952 -- 1956. Including letters from Henry N. Graven.

Geneaology. Thomas family history.

Hancock County Farm. 1929 -- 1940. Including correspondence, financial records, contracts, etc.

In Memoriam. Seth Thomas. 1873 --1962. United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Memorial proceedings.

Iowa Schoolmasters Walt Whitman Club, 1945 -- 1957. Including correspondence statements, and brochures.

Jones County Calf Case, 1920 and 1946. Including an article and correspondence with letters from Henry N. Graven.

Some Speeches and a Thesis, by Seth Thomas. Privately printed. October, 1955:

Bound volume

Correspondence from people regarding the book.

West Virginia University Alumni Association, 1954 -- 1957. Including correspondence, lists, and brochures.


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