Manuscript Collection


Thomas Family



Download Finding Aid (145 KB)


Accession 147

Inclusive Dates

1885-1978 (Bulk: 1920-1945)


Open under the rules and regulations of the Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections

Collection Size

16,500 pieces, 8.25 linear feet



Historical Note

Dr. Roy Zachariah Thomas (1879-1962) was a professor of Chemistry and Physics at Winthrop from 1914 through 1926. He brought his family with him to Rock Hill when he assumed the position of professor of Chemistry at Winthrop and quickly became one of the prominent families in Rock Hill, SC. The Thomas Family founded Thomas Tours, Inc. which was a Rock Hill travel agency founded in the 1920s and existed until 2010 when it was merged with Mann Travels.

Scope and Content Note

The Thomas Family Papers are a valuable source of information concerning family life in Rock Hill, S.C. during the period 1920-1945. The collection includes diaries, Thomas Tours brochures, newspaper clippings speeches, financial and estate records, genealogies, menus, photographs, memorabilia and an extensive body of correspondence comprising the largest part of the collection. Dr. Roy Zachariah Thomas brought his family to Rock Hill when he assumed the position of professor of Chemistry at Winthrop College in 1914. The correspondence in the collection traces the growth of the Thomas family and the tour business, Thomas Tours, Inc., that Dr. Thomas founded in the 1920s. Letters exchanged by family members give keen insight into the following: 1) the activities offered by Winthrop Training School and Winthrop College in the 1920s and early 1930s, 2) the burgeoning tour business, 3) social events offered by Duke University in the mid-1930s, 4) life during the Great Depression, 5) the rigorous training of ROTC cadets at Clemson University during the early 1940s, 6) the accelerated training of enlisted men and officers of the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII, 7) the effects of the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan, and 8) the growth of one of Rock Hill’s prominent families.


The papers of the Thomas family whose head was Dr. Roy Zachariah Thomas, the founder of Thomas Tours, Inc. of Rock Hill and a former professor of chemistry at Winthrop College (1914-1926), were received by the College Archives as a gift from Louise Thomas Miller on December 6, 1977.


Rock Hill SC, Tourism, World War II, Winthrop College, Correspondence, Great Depression, Local History


For information concerning copyright please contact the Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections at Winthrop University.

Thomas Family Papers - Accession 147