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Special Home > Guide to the George Rixse Thomas Letters, 1930-1955

Guide to the George Rixse Thomas Letters, 1930-1955

Collection number: MC 175

Size: 5 boxes (1.66 cu.ft.)

About George Rixse Thomas (1906-1988)

George R. Thomas was born December 8, 1906 in Portsmouth, Virginia, the son of George John and Ida Rixse. He attended the University of North Carolina and Carnegie Technical Institute (now Carnegie Mellon University), where he studied architecture for five years before opening architectural offices first in Norfolk, VA (1928-29) and then in Washington, D.C. (1930). That same year he accepted a position as instructor of architecture in the Department of Technology at the University of New Hampshire, where he stayed until his retirement in 1976. He taught architectural drawing, graphics and painting, as well as developed courses in drawing, painting and art history for non-architectural students. Throughout his lengthy career he continued private practice as an architect both in Durham, New Hampshire and in Portsmouth, Virginia.

During the Depression years, George Thomas was the university coordinator for the Federal Art Project, a program under the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In 1939, he organized the University Galleries, and directed the program until 1965, designing the first gallery himself (constructed as a WPA project in Hamilton Smith Library). [The second gallery was located in Dimond Library, and the third, also constructed during his tenure as gallery director, was the current one in Paul Creative Arts Center]. In 1941 Thomas was promoted to associate professor in architecture and appointed head of the newly-created Department of the Arts.

In the spring of 1943, Thomas took a leave of absence from the university to accept a position as chief engineering draftsman in the Control Materials section of the Portsmouth Navy Yard. On his return from wartime military service, he taught the first methods courses in art education and developed the art curriculum. He was promoted to full professor in 1948, and from 1948 until 1951 he also served as director of the university’s summer sessions.

After his resignation as chair of the Art Department in 1969, Thomas continued to undertake projects at the university. He designed the remodeled Hewitt Hall (it has since been renovated), which was to be the new home of the Department of the Arts, and he was a consultant for the interior design of a number of university buildings, including Kingsbury Hall, the Spaulding Life Sciences Building, the Paul Creative Arts Center, Hood House, Dimond Library, and some dormitories. He was also consultant to three presidents on interior design and furnishings for the president’s house. He worked with Professors Scudder, Parker, and Babcock in organizing and offering the first course in the humanities program (Humanities 501 and 502).

Outside the University, Thomas conducted a survey of tourist housing, presented a paper on new concepts in motel design, and gave numerous lectures throughout the state on American architecture, painting, and the restoration of historical sites such as Colonial Williamsburg. He was a member of the American Institute of Architects, the Society of Architectural Historians, and a charter member of the New Hampshire Society of Architects.

George Thomas married Naomi “Billye” Williams on September 11, 1931, and in January 1944 a daughter, Ann Lee, was born. He died August 12, 1988 in Durham, N.H.

About the George Rixse Thomas Letters

The George Thomas Letters were donated to Special Collections in November 2000 by Diane Vines of Scituate, MA. The collection contains personal correspondence from various family members spanning the years 1930-1955, with the bulk having been written during World War II.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], George Rixse Thomas Letters, 1930-1955, MC 175 Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Donation: Diane Vines, November 2000 (Accession number: 2000.29)

Related Material

Campus Journal, 1976, and September 1, 1988

New Hampshire Notables, 1955

University Archives Department of the Arts Files (UA 9/3/3, Box 3 f.23)

Collection Contents

Series I: From Ida May Thomas (Mother), 1930-1955

Box 1
Box 1, Folder 1 October 1930-September 1942
Box 1, Folder 2 October 1942
Box 1, Folder 3 November 1942
Box 1, Folder 4 December 1942
Box 1, Folder 5 January 1943
Box 1, Folder 6 February-March 1943
Box 1, Folder 7 April-May 1943
Box 1, Folder 8 June 1943
Box 1, Folder 9 July-September 1943
Box 1, Folder 10 October-November 1943
Box 1, Folder 11 December 1943
Box 1, Folder 12 January 1944
Box 1, Folder 13 February 1944
Box 1, Folder 14 March 1944
Box 1, Folder 15 April-May 1944
Box 1, Folder 16 June-October 1944
Box 1, Folder 17 November 1944-February 1945
Box 1, Folder 18 March-May 1945
Box 1, Folder 19 October-November 1945
Box 1, Folder 20 December 1945
Box 1, Folder 21 January 1946
Box 1, Folder 22 February 1946
Box 1, Folder 23 March-June 1946
Box 1, Folder 24 July-August 1946
Box 1, Folder 25 October-November 1946
Box 1, Folder 26 December 1946
Box 2
Box 2, Folder 1 January-February, 1947
Box 2, Folder 2 March 1947
Box 2, Folder 3 April-May 1947
Box 2, Folder 4 June 1947
Box 2, Folder 5 July 1947
Box 2, Folder 6 August-November 1947
Box 2, Folder 7 December 1947
Box 2, Folder 8 January 1948
Box 2, Folder 9 February-March 1948
Box 2, Folder 10 April-May 1948
Box 2, Folder 11 June-July 1948
Box 2, Folder 12 January 1949
Box 2, Folder 13 February 1949
Box 2, Folder 14 March-April 1949
Box 2, Folder 15 May-June 1949
Box 2, Folder 16 July-November 1949
Box 2, Folder 17 December 1949-January 1950
Box 2, Folder 18 February-March 1950
Box 2, Folder 19 April-May 1950
Box 2, Folder 20 June-July 1950
Box 2, Folder 21 February-March 1954
Box 2, Folder 22 April-May 1954
Box 2, Folder 23 June-July 1954
Box 2, Folder 24 August 1954
Box 2, Folder 25 September-October 1954
Box 2, Folder 26 November-December 1954
Box 3
Box 3, Folder 1 January 1955
Box 3, Folder 2 February 1955
Box 3, Folder 3 March-April 1955
Box 3, Folder 4 May 1955
Box 3, Folder 5 Undated

Series II: From Edna Honeycutt (Sister), 1942-1955

Box 3, Folder 6 September 1942
Box 3, Folder 7 October-November 1942
Box 3, Folder 8 December 1942-January 1943
Box 3, Folder 9 February-May 1943
Box 3, Folder 10 June-October 1943
Box 3, Folder 11 November 1943-January 1944
Box 3, Folder 12 February-April 1944
Box 3, Folder 13 May-November 1944
Box 3, Folder 14 January-July 1945
Box 3, Folder 15 August-September 1945
Box 3, Folder 16 October-December 1945
Box 3, Folder 17 January-February 1946
Box 3, Folder 18 March-July 1946
Box 3, Folder 19 August-December 1946
Box 3, Folder 20 January-May 1947
Box 3, Folder 21 June-November 1947
Box 3, Folder 22 December 1947
Box 4
Box 4, Folder 1 January-March 1948
Box 4, Folder 2 April-July 1948
Box 4, Folder 3 August 1948-March 1949
Box 4, Folder 4 April-May 1949
Box 4, Folder 5 June-December 1949
Box 4, Folder 6 January-March 1950
Box 4, Folder 7 April-June 1950
Box 4, Folder 8 July 1950
Box 4, Folder 9 December 1953-June 1954
Box 4, Folder 10 July-September 1954
Box 4, Folder 11 October-December 1954
Box 4, Folder 12 January-May 1955
Box 4, Folder 13 Undated
Box 4, Folder 14 Undated

Series III: From Billye (Wife), 1931-1955

Box 4, Folder 15 April 1931-February 1943
Box 4, Folder 16 September-October 1943
Box 4, Folder 17 1943-1945
Box 4, Folder 18 1946
Box 4, Folder 19 January-June 1947
Box 4, Folder 20 August 1947-May 1948
Box 5
Box 5, Folder 1 June 1948-May 1949
Box 5, Folder 2 June 1949-May 1950
Box 5, Folder 3 June 1950-January 1955
Box 5, Folder 4 Undated

Series IV: From Ann Lee (Daughter), Phyllis (Neice) and Others, 1944-1955

Box 5, Folder 5 From Ann Lee, 1944-1955
Box 5, Folder 6 From Ann Lee, undated
Box 5, Folder 7 From Phyllis, 1943-1945
Box 5, Folder 8 From Phyllis, 1946-1955
Box 5, Folder 9 From Maud Green (sister) and Lib, 1943-1950
Box 5, Folder 10 From Sarah Rixse, [John] Henry Rixse (uncle), Mabel (cousin), and Betty and Harland, 1943-1955
Box 5, Folder 11 From various, 1942-1945
Box 5, Folder 12 From various, 1946-1950
Box 5, Folder 13 From various, Christmas Cards, 1953
Box 5, Folder 14 From various, 1953-1955
Box 5, Folder 15 From various, Christmas cards, undated
Box 5, Folder 16 From various, birthday card, undated
Box 5, Folder 17 From various, undated
Box 5, Folder 18 Various gift tags

Series V: Others to Others, 1943-1947

Box 5, Folder 19 From others to others, 1943-1947 (Jack to mother; Edna to mother; Ida May to Billye; Uncle Henry to Ann Lee, and Mabel to Ida, Edna, and family)