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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Seth Thomas Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1904-1962
Creator: Thomas, Seth (1873-1962)
Extent: 6.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: MSC0101
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Judge and educator. Subject files and correspondence documenting his career. Includes speeches, court cases, genealogy, and memorial tribute.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

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

Preferred Citation: Seth Thomas Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

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.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Buena Vista County Farm, Including correspondence, financial records, legal papers, etc. - 1936-1942
  • Correspondence, Including letters from Henry N. Graven. - 1952-1956
  • Geneaology. Thomas family history.
  • Hancock County Farm. Including correspondence, financial records, contracts, etc. - 1929-1940
  • In Memoriam. Seth Thomas. United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Memorial proceedings. - 1873-1962
  • Iowa Schoolmasters Walt Whitman Club. Including correspondence statements, and brochures. - 1945-1957
  • Jones County Calf Case. Including an article and correspondence with letters from Henry N. Graven. - 1920, 1946
  • Some Speeches and a Thesis, by Seth Thomas. Privately printed. October. Bound volume. - 1955
  • Some Speeches and a Thesis: Correspondence from people regarding the book. - 1955
  • West Virginia University Alumni Association. Including correspondence, lists, and brochures. - 1954-1957

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Corporate Names:
Iowa School Masters' Walt Whitman Club
United States. Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)

School principals

Geographic Names:
United States -- California
United States -- Iowa

Genre/Form of Materials: