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81-M286--2010-M10; MP-7

Thomson, Margaret Cook, 1889-1975. Papers of Margaret Cook Thomson, 1850-1980 (inclusive), 1904-1978 (bulk): A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: 81-M286--2010-M10; MP-7
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Thomson, Margaret Cook, 1889-1975
Title: Papers of Margaret Cook Thomson, 1850-1980 (inclusive), 1904-1978 (bulk)
Date(s): 1850-1980
Date(s): 1904-1978
Quantity: 4 linear feet (4 cartons) plus 3 motion pictures)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, photographs, diaries, home movies, etc., of Margaret Cook Thomson, teacher and missionary in China for the United Presbyterian Church.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 81-M286, 83-M6, 86-M87, 92-M171, 97-M141, 98-M96, 2000-M33, 2010-M10. Accession numbers 92-M171, 97-M141, 98-M96, 2000-M33, 2010-M10 were added in June 2017.
This collection was given to the Schlesinger Library by the Thomson family between November 1981 and January 2010.

Processing Information:

Preliminary inventory: April 1982
By: Jane S. Knowles
Updated: June 2017
By: Anne Engelhart

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Margaret Cook Thomson is held by her children: John Seabury Thomson, Sydney Thomson Brown, James C. Thomson, Jr., and Anne Thomson Waller. After their deaths, copyright transfers to the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Margaret Cook Thomson Papers, 1850-1980; item description, dates. 81-M286--2010-M10, folder. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Margaret (Cook) Thomson, born in 1889, the daughter of Robert A. Cook and Margaret (McIntosh) Seabury, was brought up by her aunts and attended Smith College, A.B. 1911. She married James Claude Thomson in 1917, a chemist and nutrition expert. In 1917 they went to the University of Nanking, where James Claude Thomson was Chairman of the Department of Chemistry, and remained there (except for furloughs home) until the communist takeover in 1949. During the Japanese occupation of China, the university was moved to the City of Chengtu on the Tibetan border. Margaret Cook Thomson was herself a teacher and missionary for the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. In the 1950s, James Claude Thomson taught at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan, and traveled in Iran, Turkey and Pakistan as nutrition consultant to the World Health Organization.


This collection consists of correspondence with family and friends, including Margaret Cook Thomson and James Claude Thomson's two daughters Anne (Nancy) (Thomson) Waller (born 1918), Sydney (Thomson) Brown (born 1922), and 2 sons, John Seabury (born 1921), and James C. Thomson Jr. (born 1932). Letters describe life in China, including the uprising in Nanking in 1927. Additionally there are photographs, diaries, notes for speeches and notebooks, guest books, and home movies filmed during their stay in China.
Additional material received between 1992 and 2010 (accession numbers 92-M171, 97-M141, 98-M96, 2000-M33, 2010-M10) were added to the collection in June 2017 and are housed in #89-90. A few items were added to #2, 29, 79, and 86. All other files remain in the same order.


Container List

Additional Index Terms

Amateur films
China--Social life and customs
Europe--Description and travel
Family records
Japan--Description and travel
Presbyterian Church--Missions
Women missionaries
Buck, Pearl S. (Pearl Sydenstricker), 1892-1973
Jinling da xue
International Christian University (Tokyo, Japan)
Smith College
Thompson family
Thomson, James Claude, 1889-1974