Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Jonathan Thorne Letter Book, 1839-1851

Finding aid created by
Clements Staff and Meg Hixon, August 2012

Summary Information
Title: Jonathan Thorne letter book
Creator: Thorne, Jonathan, 1801-1884
Inclusive dates: 1839-1851
Extent: 1 volume
Abstract:
This letter book (around 420 pages) contains retained copies of the outgoing business correspondence of Quaker and New York City merchant Jonathan Thorne, dated between October 23, 1839, and May 12, 1851. Thorne wrote to professional acquaintances and firms about his interests in the leather industry and about his land holdings in western Michigan.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1987. M-2324.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Jonathan Thorne Letter Book, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biography

Jonathan Thorne was born in Washington, New York, on April 20, 1801, the son of Samuel Thorne, a Quaker. In 1828, he moved to New York City, where he worked in the dry goods industry. He joined Israel Corse's leather business after marrying Corse's daughter Lydia, and later became the firm's senior partner. In addition to his interests in the leather industry, Thorne held stock in the Western Union Telegraph Company and other firms, raised cattle in Dutchess County, New York, and owned land in Berrien County and Kalamazoo County, Michigan. Jonathan Thorne and Lydia Corse had at least five children: Edwin, Samuel, Jonathan, William, and Phebe Anna. After Lydia's death, Thorne married Eliza Fox. Jonathan Thorne retired around 1874, and died in 1884.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This letter book (around 420 pages) contains retained copies of the outgoing business correspondence of New York City merchant Jonathan Thorne, dated between October 23, 1839, and May 12, 1851. Thorne wrote to professional acquaintances and firms about his interests in the leather industry and about his land holdings in western Michigan. Several different copyists contributed to this volume. Three loose letters, dated in 1850 and 1851, are laid into the letter book, and two loose letters are affixed to its final pages.

Thorne's earliest letters primarily concern his involvement in the leather industry in the late 1830s and early 1840s. He corresponded with companies and individuals about hides and finances. Thorne later shifted his focus to his land holdings in Berrien County and Kalamazoo County, Michigan, and discussed issues such as taxes and tenants. Though Thorne wrote almost extensively about his business affairs, he commented on politics on at least one occasion, offering his opinions about the Locofocos and William Henry Harrison in mid-1840.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Absentee landlordism.
    • Leather industry and trade--United States.
    • New York (N.Y.)--Commerce.
    • Quaker businesspeople.
    • Quakers--New York (State)--New York.
    • Real property--Michigan.
    • Real property tax.
    • United States--Politics and government--1815-1861.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letter books.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Jonathan Thorne letter book,  October 23, 1839-May 12, 1851 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Bibliography

    America's Successful Men of Affairs: An Encyclopedia of Contemporaneous Biography. Ed. Henry Hall. Volume I. New York: The New York Tribune, 1895.

    "Obituary." New York Times 10 October 1884.

    Wood, William H. S. Friends of the City of New York in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Privately printed, 1904.