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THE THOMAS MURRAY WILSON PAPERS

The Thomas Murray Wilson Papers consist primarily of photographs and diaries by Wilson mainly during his travels around the world in the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's in the United States diplomatic corps. The collection is comprised of 5 linear feet of material, arranged in 40 folders in 4 boxes and 3 oversize containers.

Thomas Murray Wilson (1881-1967), a distinguished American diplomat, was born in Memphis, Tennessee and was educated in military and private schools. From 1899 to 1916 he was primarily engaged in the cotton business, banking and farming, but eventually turned to the foreign service. Wilson served first in the early 1920's as a consul in China (Hankow, Tientsin, Tsinan and Amoy) and India (Madras and Bombay). In 1923 Wilson moved to Washington, D.C., and worked for the Foreign Service Department, where by 1933 he became the chief of the personnel division of the Foreign Service of the Department of State. However, by 1937 he was back in the field again as Consul General to Australia, becoming "de facto" American Ambassador there. From 1941 to 1942 he was American Commissioner to India with the rank of Minister. In 1943 he was appointed Minister to Iraq and retired the following year. Thomas Murray Wilson lived in Washington, D.C. after his retirement and died there in 1967. The Thomas Murray Wilson was an avid traveller during his service as a diplomat, visiting all over Southern Asia, Africa and Europe in addition to the countries where he was stationed. He was also an avid photographer and diarist. The collection is full of photographs taken by Wilson all over the world, and he probably developed many of them himself. Wilson was much more a fan of the nature and old ruins in the areas he travelled in than a documenter of the local cultures. Landscapes of all sorts dominate the collection: mountains, sea coasts, waterfalls, forests and deserts. But there are also many photos of cities, towns and popular tourist sites, such as the Taj Mahal and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Some of the most fascinating photographs are those taken by Wilson with a special panorama camera of the Great Wall of China and of the Yugoslavian coast.

Thomas Murray Wilson's diaries kept during his years of service in Australia, India and Iraq (1937-1943) contain an interesting account of his daily experiences as well as of world events and American involvement in the countries where he was stationed. Of particular interest are the diaries kept during his service in Iraq (1942-1943), during which time the United States was negotiating with Iraq over its involvement in World War II and about oil interests in the region. There is also a great deal of discussion about Zionism and Jewish immigration to Palestine. Wilson had his manuscript diaries typed and bound and they are arranged chronologically. * * * * * * * *

Extent: 5 linear feet Number of Boxes: 4, and 3 oversize containers Span dates: 1910 - 1944 Provenance: The diaries were acquired at auction from Samuel Yudkin Auction House in Alexandria, VA in 1986. The photographs were the gift of Frederick B. Scheetz, December, 1986. Processed by: Michael J. North Date: December 11, 1990 ACCESSION DATA: The diaries were acquired at auction from Samuel Yudkin Auction House in Alexandria, VA in 1986. The photographs were the gift of Frederick B.Scheetz, December, 1986.
BULK DATES: 1920 - 1944
SPAN DATES: 1920 - 1944 EXTENT: 4 + 3 oversize



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