Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Thomson, Charles, 1729-1824
Charles Thomson Letters
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 2


Consists of letters and miscellanea of the educator, merchant, and first secretary of the Continental Congress Charles Thomson (1729-1824).

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of 40 letters by Thomson to his wife, Hannah, in Philadelphia, written while he was attending the Continental Congress in Princeton, New Jersey, from June to October, 1783. Also included are copies of four additional Thomson letters to his wife during the same period (Princeton does not own the originals); printed material about Thomson and Harriton House, his estate in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, where he resided from 1789 to 1824; photographs of the interior and exterior of Harriton House; and photographs of Thomson's grave in Philadelphia's Laurel Hill Cemetery.


The collection has been organized into the following sections:

Collection Creator Biography:

Thomson, Charles, 1729-1824

Charles Thomson is best known as the secretary of the Continental Congress, a position he held from 5 September 1774 until 23 July 1789.

Collection History


The Thomson letter of 28 August 1783 was a gift from Patricia S. Jones on September 15, 2009 .


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Karla J. Vecchia in 2004. Finding aid written by Karla J. Vecchia in 2004.

During 2022, restrictions on original letters where researchers were required to use surrogates were lifted as part of a restrictions review project.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Charles Thomson Letters; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 2

Find More


Most of the letters were published in Congress at Princeton: Being the Letters of Charles Thomson to Hannah Thomson, June-October 1783, edited by Eugene R. Sheriden and John M. Murrin (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Library, 1985).

Subject Terms:
Husbands -- New Jersey -- Princeton -- 18th century -- Correspondence.
Genre Terms:
Letters -- 18th century.
Photographs, Original.
United States. Continental Congress
Harriton House (Bryn Mawr, Pa.).
Thomson, Charles, 1729-1824
Princeton (N.J.) -- History -- Revolution, 1777-1783 -- Sources.