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Thomas H. Davis diaries

Call Number: RH MS 1363


This collection contains four diaries written by Thomas H. Davis during the years 1875-1880, mostly in Newburyport, Massachusetts until he moved to Wyandotte County, Kansas in 1879/1880.


  • 1875 - 1880


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determinse use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Thomas H. Davis

Thomas H. Davis appears to have been born in 1850 (on December 31, 1876 he speaks of closing the 26th chapter of his life). He was possibly a soldier, as in January 1875 he speaks of discharging and getting his walking papers. He worked in a repair shop and seems to have been a general handyman, doing odd jobs for various people in the area in addition to his work at the repair shop. These jobs included cleaning and lining furnaces, setting water closets, soldering pipes, tinning door heads, making funnels, putting in pipes, lifting and moving things, roofing, putting up conductors, and various other miscellaneous installation and repair work.

He lived in Newburyport, MA at least from 1875 to April 1880, and probably before. There he lived in various boarding houses. He usually lived in rooms by himself, and seemed to prefer it this way, feeling that if he took on a roommate he would probably become tired of the other person before a week passed. He often suffered bouts of depression. He sometimes fell behind on rent for lack of available work; he was meticulous about documenting the number of hours of work he got in a day or week.

In April 1880 he took up a job in a repair shop with the Union Pacific Rail Road and moved to Armstrong, Kansas. For a short time he lived in a boarding house in Wyandott, Kansas, three miles from Armstrong. In August 1880 he went into partnership with Gurdon Fisk to rent a cottage in Armstrong.


.25 Linear Feet (1 document case)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 1363

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Michael Brown Rare Books, 2002.


Guide to the Thomas H. Davis Collection
Thomas H. Davis diaries
Finding aid prepared by rr.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Thomas H. Davis Collection, RH MS 1363, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States