Madison, WI: Burrows Brothers / Arthur H. Clark Co., 1895 - 1902. This historical archive includes the following: [A] 8.5" x 11", 22 TLS consisting of 27 individual pages [B] 6"x 9". 25 HLS consisting of 47 written pages [C] Various sized pages include 17 HNS or HLS on 21 written pp. [D] 3.5" x 5.5" HNS on SHSW card stock [E] 3.5" x 5.5" HNS on U.S. Postal one-cent postcards [F] A letter from Wilberforce Eames, "Dean of American Bibliography" [G] 5 HLS from contributors other than RGT, identities not yet researched [H] 4 sepia photographs of RGT 4.5" x 7" [I] Copy of 8/2/1896 Sunday Sentinel Newspaper with RGT and dedication of Historical building headline above the fold [J] 28 pp. MSS of Chapter 4 of The French Exploration of the West with hand edits. [K] The oldest item in the archive is 10/5/1895 from a Jesuit scholar, Arthur E. Jones, SJ from College St. Marie, Montreal discussing the JRs.
Five items are handwritten "Strictly Confidential" or "Personal" at the top. Almost all items are in fine condition with only a few very good due to aging. Usual mail creasing, multiple page letters are pinned at the top, editorial annotation marks in pencil.
"Then one day the happy thought came to me that throughout that region the early history had been written by the Jesuit missionaries. I thought it over, and thought of the only edition - the three large and thick volume royal 8vo of the French, but as I came to investigate I found that a good deal was written by those Jesuit missionaries in Latin and Spanish as well. I went up to to Madison to talk with Doctor Thwaites, who had become a good customer and a good friend. I discussed the matter with him, and then took it up at the next directors' meeting. They seemed to be willing to furnish the money; and Dr. Thwaites decided, after proper compensation, that he would accept the editorship. (A. H. Clark, "From Father, to Son, and Once Again, 2002). Thus began one of the great editor / publisher relationships in the subject of American History.
Reuben Gold Thwaites (1853-1913) was a librarian, historian and editor. "Next to Parkman [Francis], Thwaites will take rank, among the eminent historians of the West. Where Parkman was the pioneer, Thwaites was the follower, the settler, and the cultivator, and to him is due more than to any other of our contemporaries the revelation of the life and history of the Old Northwest (Woodburn, J. A.) Thwaites was largely a self taught scholar. He attended public schools at the elementary level, and put himself through a vigorous syllabus of self-taught college courses while working farms in the Oshkosh, WI area. In 1874-74 he attended Yale University for a year of graduate studies, but did not receive a degree.
Returning to Wisconsin, Thwaites settled in Madison, and for the next ten years proved his mettle in a series of journalist, editorial and printing responsibilities with local and state newspapers. In 1885 he became assistant to Lyman C. Draper, corresponding secretary of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, and assumed Draper's position upon his retirement in Jan. 1887. Thwaites continued in this capacity, greatly expanding the Society's collection of documents and historical items until his death. His scholarly discipline, commitment to the collection and superlative capabilities as an administrator established both his state and national reputation.
Perhaps Thwaites' most singular standout talent was that of an editor of primary source historical documents. "The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents" (71 Vols. & 2 Vols. Index) was the first, but not the last of his many undertakings. The others include: "Lewis and Clark Journals" (8 Vols.), "Early Western Travels" (33 vols.), and "Collections of the State Historical Society" (vols. 11-20).
Recognition of Thwaites' skills and contributions came more in the guise of his appointments than his awards, though he was awarded an LL.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1904. Additionally, he was elected president of the American Librarian Association in 1900 and President of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association in 1910.
SIGNIFICANT CONTENT: These letters contain insightful, first person edits of this essential work. Additionally, the pages marked Confidential contain opinions, politics and a faint whiff professional competitiveness. Fine. Item #1012