Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Thomson mss., 1813-1881, consist of papers of Mrs. Elizabeth Anna (Williams) Thomson, 1824-1854; her husband, Samuel Steele Thomson, professor of Latin at Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana; and her son-in-law, Theodore H. Ristine, lawyer.

Career of Mrs. Thomson: born, March 14, 1824, Middletown, Connecticut; daughter of the Reverend Joshua Lewis Williams, died December 29, 1832, and Catharine (Mix) Williams; adopted by an uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Israel Williams, Rocky Hill, Connecticut, 1833; moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, 1838; in schools in Terre Haute and Crawfordsville, Indiana, 1839- 1840; attended Wethersfield academy, Wethersfield, Connecticut, 1841-1842; returned to Terre Haute, June 1842; married Samuel Steele Thomson, June 3, 1845; died 1854.

Mrs. Thomson's papers in this collection consist of three diaries, January 1, 1834-August 21, 1838; September 3, 1838- September 30, 1841; and January 1, 1844-May 20, 1845; a commonplace book containing also philosophy notes while she was a student at Wethersfield academy and original poems by her, 1841-1844; unbound poems by her, 1841-1845; and an unsigned and undated poem addressed to her and entitled "Strike the cymbal."

Samuel Steele Thomson is represented in the collection by a ledger, 1868-1872, of the firm of Houston and Thomson, dealing in lumber and building materials in Crawfordsville.

For Theodore H. Ristine there is a diary, January 20-June 3, 1871; a scrapbook of newspaper clippings, 1867-1881, pasted in a book containing law notes; and an "Index rerum, repertory or commonplace book," 1867, whose first 142 pages have been used as a merchant's daybook, July 19-December 3, 1859.

Also included in the collection are typescripts of six letters relating to Indiana, particularly its resources and schools, written by Caleb Mills for and published in the Boston recorder, February 22, 29; March 14, 21, 28; and April 4, 1844; a poem by S. Harrison Thomson, dated July 13, 1840 and entitled, "Written on finding in my library a copy of Shakespeare"; an account book, 1857-1859, of an unidentified lumber-yard in Bement, Illinois, which also includes scale accounts of wheat, 1861; a daybook, 1860-1861, of a Bement, Illinois, grain and feed business with clippings pasted over some of the pages; and a ledger, 1860-1862, of a grain and milling business, which contains notes on Ovid on pages 79- 100.

Collection size: 20 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.