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Papers of Eli Thayer [microform]

Creator: Thayer, Eli, 1819-1899

Date: [1854-1891] (bulk 1855-1869, 1880-1889)

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: MICROFILM: MS 145
Ms. Coll. 519

Unit ID: 40519

Biographical sketch: Educator, founder of the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Co. (later part of the New England Emigrant Aid Co.), member of the U.S. House of Represenatives (Republican from Mass., 1857-61); of Worcester.

Abstract: Primarily correspondence relating to migration to Kansas, territorial matters, and anti-slavery settlement in southern states. The collection mostly consists of letters sent to Thayer, copies of Thayer's letters, and some other misc. materials. Included on the microfilm are 36 letters written by Eli Thayer from other ms. collections held by the Kansas Historical Society. These have been interfiled to maintain proper chronology. They were taken from the New England Emigrant Aid Co. history collection and the papers of William Barnes, William Hutchinson, Charles Robinson, George W. Brown, and W. H. Isely. There are also several letters from Thayer addressed to the secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society (Topeka). Correspondents include Charles Robinson, Isaac T. Goodnow, George W. Brown, H.A. Wilcox, as well as F. G. Adams from the Kansas State Historical Society and others. The bulk of the materials date from 1855 through the 1860s and from the 1880s.

Space Required/Quantity:

Reference copy: 1 microfilm reel (220 images) ; 35 mm.

Originals: 0.2 ft. (1 box)

Title (Main title): Papers of Eli Thayer [microform]

Titles (Other):

  • Eli Thayer collection
  • Eli Thayer papers
  • Papers


Biog. Sketch (Full):

Eli Thayer was born on 11 June 1819 in Mendon, Worcester County, Massachusetts. He graduated from Brown University in 1843 and began a career in education, becoming the principal of the Worcester Academy and opening a collegiate institute for girls known as the Oread Institute in 1851. He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1853-1854 and was elected for two terms to the United States House of Representatives, serving 1857-1861.

While he never resided in Kansas himself, Thayer's connection to the area is significant. He organized the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company in 1854, later becoming the New England Emigrant Aid Company, in order to organize the emigration of anti-slavery families and individuals into Kansas during the territorial controversy over popular sovereignty.

Eli Thayer died in 1899 and was buried in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Scope and Content

Specific Contents Identified:

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

  • MICROFILM: MS 145. Includes Thayer collection and letters written by Eli Thayer in other ms. collections
  • Use microfilm: MS 145


  • MS 145: Papers of Eli Thayer. (Includes letters written by Thayer from other KHS collections) 1854-1891

Index Terms


    Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company
    New England Emigrant Aid Company
    Kansas -- Emigration and immigration
    Kansas -- History -- 1854-1861
    Kansas -- Politics and government -- 1854-1861
    Southern States
    Thayer, Eli, 1819-1899
    Antislavery movements -- Kansas
    Antislavery movements -- Southern States

Creators and Contributors

Additional Information for Researchers

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

Add'l physical form: Microfilm. Topeka [Kan.] : Kansas State Historical Society, 1959; roll MS 145, lab no. 5836; available for research or inter-library loan.


General Note: Microfilm title.