Menu

Guide to the William C. Thornton Papers, 1805-1854

Summary

Correspondence of the related Compton, Thornton, Treadway, and Wainwright families of London, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, centering around William C. Thornton.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11188
Title
William C. Thornton papers
Date
1805-1854
Creator
Thornton, William C.
Extent
0.5 Linear Feet
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

The following description has been transcribed from the card catalog, which was composed in 1951:

The central figure of this correspondence, which is largely that of the related Compton Thornton, Treadway, and Wainwright families of London, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, is William C. Thornton. By 1817 he was associated with John G. Smith and Co. of Richmond. Between then and May 1820, he took a position with the U.S. Bank in Richmond. Within a few years he had left the bank and was in a mercantile business near Prince Edward Court House, Virginia, with his brother-in-law, Thomas Treadway, Sr. After two years, he sold out and went to New York, where he went into business with Thomas Treadway, Jr., Thomas Sr.'s nephew. He later entered the U.S. Bank in Philadelphia, where he remained until the early 1840s when he returned to business.

In a letter of August 1805, Townsend Compton writes from London about several members of his family and the fear there of an invasion by Napoleon's forces; in Dec. 1816, he writes of the depression in England, blaming Pitt's measures for nearly ruining the country, and stating that Spain and Ferdinand VII would disgrace a nation of barbarians. A later letter from Compton (May 1, 1820) comments further on England's depression, and speaks of the success of actors Kean and Matthews.

There are also letters to Rachel, Rebecca, and Abraham M. Church; James Martin; letters from Medmor Goodwin (1817); Mary Treadway in 1826 to Rebecca Thornton, wife of William C. Thornton; letters to Rebecca from her sister Caroline in Farmville; Sarah H. Thornton and M.F. Thornton to their uncle, William J. Wainwright; a series of letters starting in Oct. 1839 from T.T. Treadway at the University of Virginia to his aunt and his cousin, Edward C. Thornton of Philadelphia; Elizabeth Russell Norwood of Boston to her friend Mrs. William Wainwright (including a letter from Aug. 1842 regarding women's rights); a letter from T.T. Treadway of Prince Edward in 1842 discussing slaveholding; a letter from Newton, CT., in Jan. 1844 about temperance debates and lectures; letters to Sarah A. Thornton from her friends; and a letter from Mary Treadway in Dec. 1852 commenting on Uncle Tom's Cabin.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Using These Materials

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 2 full business days in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access to the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use & Permissions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], William C. Thornton Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, 1805-1854
(3 folders)
 

Historical Note

Banker of Richmond, Va., and Philadelphia, and merchant near Prince Edward Court House, Va., and in New York, N.Y.


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

The William C. Thornton Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 1951.

Processing Information

Processed by RL Staff, date unknown.

Accessions described in this collection guide: 8-27-1951