Finding Aid to the Dr. J. Hanson Thomas Manuscript Collection, 1861-1862, MS 3091

Finding Aid to the Dr. J. Hanson Thomas Manuscript Collection, 1861-1862, MS 3091

H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society

 

Collection summary

Title

Dr. J. Hanson Thomas Manuscript Collection

Creator

Thomas, Dr. John Hanson (1813-1881)

Call number

MS 3091

Inclusive dates

1861-1862

Bulk dates

1861-1862

Extent

2 boxes

Abstract

Contains the correspondence of Dr. John Hanson Thomas sent during his imprisonment during the Civil War. Dr. Thomas and his wife, Annie Campbell Thomas, née Gordon, wrote each other almost every day during his time as a prisoner of war from September 1861 to February 1862, and letters between the couple make up the majority of the collection. These letters discuss daily life in the prison camp, political views, current events, and family matters.

Administrative summary

Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library

Maryland Historical Society

201 W. Monument St.

Baltimore, MD 21201

www.mdhs.org

specialcollections@mdhs.org

Access restrictions

Open to the public without restrictions.

Use restrictions

Permission to quote must be received in writing from the Special Collections Librarian.

Provenance

Purchase from Crocker Farm, September, 2011

Accession number

2011-014-LIB

Processing note

Processed by Lara Westwood, December 2016

Biographical Note

Dr. John Hanson Thomas was born on September 23, 1813 in Frederick, Maryland to John Hanson and Mary Isham Colston Thomas. His parents named him Charles Edward, but he had it changed to John Hanson by Act of Legislature. His mother was from an established Virginia family and lived on the “Honeywood” estate in Berkeley County. His father served as the Chairman of the Committee of Defense during the War of 1812 and served in Congress, first as a delegate in the House of Representatives and then as a state Senator. Thomas grew up in Virginia and attended the University of Virginia. He moved to Baltimore in 1834 and enrolled at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. He also studied under Dr. Ashton Alexander and after graduation practiced medicine for a short time in the city. In 1838, he joined the Farmers and Merchants’ Bank and became president the following year, a position he held for 40 years. He also held several government positions, including in the state legislature. On September 12, 1861, he was arrested, along with several other Maryland legislators, for his pro-Confederacy leanings. He was imprisoned for several months, and he was transferred between Union prisons. He was held at Fort McHenry for a brief time until he was moved to Fort Monroe, then Fort Warren, and finally to Fort Lafayette. In 1870, he helped found the Academy of Music in Baltimore and served on the board of directors.

Thomas married Annie Campbell Gordon (1819-1886) on November 15, 1837. They had seven children, Basil Gordon, John Hanson, Raleigh Colston, Douglas Hamilton, Nannie Gordon, Mary Randolph, and John Marshall. The family moved to 1 West Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore in 1850. After the death of Annie Thomas in 1886, one of the daughters, Mary Randolph Thomas Carroll (1847-1926), wife of John N. Carroll of “The Caves,” lived there until 1891. Thomas died on July 15, 1881.

Scope and Content

The collection contains the correspondence of Dr. John Hanson Thomas sent during his imprisonment during the Civil War. Dr. Thomas and his wife, Annie Campbell Thomas wrote each other almost every day during his time as a prisoner of war from September 1861 to February 1862, and letters between the couple make up the majority of the collection. These letters discuss daily life in the prison camp, political views, current events, and family matters. Annie Thomas often complained of the lack of news about the war, as the newspapers had been censored and was not shy of voicing her support of the South. They both often refer to mail censorship, and a few letters have sections cut out, most likely done by the censors. Annie Thomas would also enclose letters from family members, friends, and business associates with her own.

The collection is arranged chronologically. Some the letters have been numbered by the writer to help keep track of the order the letters were received. When evident, this organizational system has been retained. Letters from different dates held in the same envelope have also been kept together.

Container List

Contents 

Dates 

Box 

Folder 

Correspondence

1861, September 13-18

1

1

Correspondence

1861, September 22-30

1

2

Correspondence

1861, October 2-16

1

3

Correspondence

1861, October 18-24

1

4

Correspondence

1861, October 26-31

1

5

Correspondence

1861, November 4-16

1

6

Correspondence

1861, November 17-25

1

7

Correspondence

1861, November 26-30

1

8

Correspondence

1861, December 1-11

1

9

Correspondence

1861, December 13-15

1

10

Correspondence

1861, December 16-28

1

11

Correspondence

1861, December 29-31

1

12

Correspondence

1862, January 1-9

1

13

Correspondence

1862, January 10-15

1

14

Correspondence

1862, January 16-20

2

15

Correspondence

1862, January 21-24

2

16

Correspondence

1862, January 25-31

2

17

Correspondence

1862, February 1-6

2

18

Correspondence

1862, February 7-10

2

19

Correspondence

1862, February 11-15

2

20

Correspondence

1862, February 17-22

2

21

Correspondence

No date

2

22

 

 

 

 

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