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Herbert C. Thompson papers

Identifier: Ax 067

Scope and Contents note

The first portion of the collection is comprised of 58 diaries, most belonging to Herbert C. Thompson, containing detailed descriptions of places and events. The diaries provided source material for his newspaper accounts and magazine articles, and cover such topics as the Philippines campaign (diaries #6-8), the San Francisco earthquake and fire, written after the event (diary #11) and Thompson's observations of Europe during World War I, plus accounts of his numerous trips. Detailed descriptions of the first 33 volumes of the diaries may be found in the attached guide.

Thompson's early letters, 1883-1900, include a series from and to his mother, when he was at Stanford University and in the Philippines. Later correspondence is with other newspapermen and friends. There is a series of letters from an uncle, William Thompson, a newspaperman in Alturas, California, written from 1912-1934. Another series of letters, 1920-1926, is from writer Thomas Dykes Bailey of Santa Cruz, California.

The papers include manuscripts of many of Thompson's articles and books, including a history of the Philippines campaign, "War Without Medals" (excerpts from this work were published in the Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. 59, pp. 293-325), and the unpublished novel, "The Senator Runs Again." There is also an unorganized manuscript, "Notes on Europe, 1912-1916," which discusses newspapers and newspaper work. Loose papers in the collection include Philippine Island newspapers, 1898, and Mexican Revolution broadsides, photographs and mementos.

With the H. C. Thompson papers is a series of letters, 1864-1882, to his father, Judge John M. Thompson, and notes and speeches by J. M. Thompson. Major correspondents include Joseph Lane, Matthew Deady, Robert S. Bean and Cincinnatus H. Miller [Joaquin Miller].

The photographs include family portraits and images from Thompson's travels. Most of the prints are arranged by location. Photographs in this collection concern the following subjects and dates: Philippines, Spanish-American War, WWI, Mexico, Hawaii, SF earthquake.


  • 1864-1960


Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use note

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical/Historical note

Herbert Cooper Thompson, journalist and writer, was born in Eugene, Oregon in 1875, the son of Judge J. M. Thompson. (Judge Thompson, one of Lane County's first lawyers, was president of the Union University Association, the group of Eugene residents which promoted Eugene as the location for the state university in the 1860's. The judge was later a member of the first board of regents for the University of Oregon.)

Herbert C. Thompson attended the University of Oregon in the early 1890's, and completed his education at Stanford University, graduating in 1896. In 1898, he joined the Company C, Oregon Volunteers, and served in the Philippines during the Spanish-American war.

He began his journalistic career as a newspaper reporter in San Francisco, from 1900 to 1910. He then served as an Associated Press reporter from 1912 to 1920, assigned to England and France during World War I and to the Mexican Revolution, 1916 to 1918. From 1924 to 1940, he was employed as a writer and observer for the American Red Cross, visiting Cuba, Puerto Rico and Europe. He became editor of the Red Cross magazine Courier in 1948, a post he held for four years.

A respected writer and historian, Thompson contributed articles to a number of publications including the New York Times Magazine, the Literary Digest and the Oregon Historical Quarterly. Be was a member of the National Press Club and the Overseas Writers group, both based in Washington D. C., his home from 1924 to 1948.

Thompson retired, with his wife, Elizabeth (there was an unhappy earlier marriage), to Santa Cruz, California. He died October 12, 1960.


8 linear feet (20 containters)

Language of Materials



American journalist and historian Herbert Cooper Thompson worked as a reported for the Associated Press in England and France during World War I and in Mexico during the Mexican Revolution from 1916 to 1918. From 1924 to 1940, he worked as a writer and observer for the American Red Cross, visiting Cuba, Puerto Rico and Europe. Collection comprises diaries, correspondence, literary manuscripts, and photographs by Thompson.

Arrangement note

Collection is organized into the following series: DiariesCorrespondenceManuscriptsPublished materialsMiscellanyPhotographs

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements note

Collection includes nitrate photographs.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Herbert C. Thompson papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by Cheryl Roffe
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA