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Thomas B. Wilson papers

Creator: Wilson, Thomas Bayne, 1892-1963

Date: 1902-1959

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: Manuscripts Collection 88

Unit ID: 40088

Biographical sketch: Transportation company administrator; military officer; regional director, Defense Materials Procurement Agency. Of Kansas, San Francisco, London.

Abstract: This collection consists of correspondence files of Thomas Bayne Wilson documenting his tenure as a brigadier general and presidencies of the Southern Pacific Motor Transport Company & the Pacific Greyhound Corporation. Some correspondence discusses a blackmail scandal and United States government investigation concerning Wilson, particularly regarding tungsten. The correspondence files are organized chronologically by date. Included is a chronological resume of his career and copies of letters, orders, citations, recommendations, and similar documents.

Space Required/Quantity: 1 ft. (3 boxes + 2 oversize folders and 1 item)

Title (Main title): Thomas B. Wilson papers

Titles (Other):

  • Papers
  • Thomas B. Wilson collection
  • Thomas Bayne Wilson papers


Biog. Sketch (Full): At the age of 18 in 1910, Thomas Bayne Wilson left his parents' home in Williamsburg, Kansas to go to California. Securing a position with the Pasadena Electric Railway, he began a career in public transportation, which eventually made him a world-renown figure. In San Francisco he secured a job with the Southern Pacific Railroad as a clerk. He attended Oakland Polytechnic College at night for training as a radio operator because he wanted to work for the railroad's steamship subsidiary and see the world.

He first was sent to the Panama Canal zone then to the Orient where he built several radio stations in the Philippines for the United States War Department. Moving up in the ranks of the Southern Pacific he eventually became general superintendent of transportation then turned to the newly expanded highway transport industry by organizing the Southern Pacific Motor Transport system. When that merged with the Pacific Greyhound lines, Wilson became president and general manager. From the bus system he went into sea transport, becoming general manager of the Alaskan Steamship Company. In 1938 Transcontinental & Western Airlines (which became TWA) called him as chairman of its board and directed him to expand the line's operations into foreign countries.

In 1942 Wilson was called to serve and commissioned colonel in the transportation corps. T. B. Wilson left the military in 1944, remained as chairman of the board of TWA until 1947, then served one term in the Kansas House of Representatives from Jefferson County. In 1950 he entered federal government service as regional director, Defense Materials Procurement Agency, with the rank of minister. He headquartered in London.

Wilson later served on the Civil Aeronautics Board and was chairman of the board and director of Resort Airlines.

[Kansas Historical Society, "Thomas Bayne Wilson," http://www.kshs.org/portraits/wilson_thomas_bayne.htm (accessed 15 September 2010).]

Scope and Content

Contents: Box 1. Correspondence : 1902 Feb.-1952 June -- box 2. Correspondence : 1952 July-1959 Sept., [undated] ; misc. -- box 3. Biography ; commissions, appointments, citations, etc.

Specific Contents Identified:

Headings or descriptors assigned to subsections of the material, for example labels on a particular box or group of boxes.

  • Manuscripts Collection 88
  • c1940-1955: certificates of award or honor from New Mexico, Aer Lingus, and French, U.S., Spanish, and Chinese governments

Index Terms


    United States. Army -- Officers
    United States. Defense Materials Procurement Agency
    United States. Defense Materials Procurement Agency
    Pacific Greyhound Lines
    Southern Pacific Motor Transport Company
    Jefferson County (Kan.)
    London (England)
    Pacific and Mountain States
    San Francisco (Calif.)
    United States
    Wilson, Thomas Bayne, 1892-1963
    Wilson, Thomas Bayne, 1892-1963 -- Correspondence
    Bus lines -- California
    Bus lines -- Pacific and Mountain States
    Governmental investigations -- United States
    Transportation -- Kansas
    Transportation -- United States
    World War, 1914-1918
    World War, 1939-1945

Creators and Contributors

Additional Information for Researchers

Use and reproduction: Information on literary rights available from the Kansas Historical Society (Topeka).