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.

See also:

  • Campus Journal, 1976, and September 1, 1988
  • New Hampshire Notables, 1955

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], [Folder number], [Box number], 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)

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

Collection Contents

Series 1: From Ida May Thomas (mother), 1930-1955

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

Series 2: From Edna Honeycutt (sister), 1942-1955

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

Series 3: From Billye (wife), 1931-1955

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

Series 4: From Ann Lee (daughter), Phyllis (neice) and Others, 1944-1955

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

Series 5: Others to Others, 1943-1947

Box 5, Folder 19From 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)