Top of page

About this Item


  • William Thornton papers,


  • Correspondence, diaries, writings, notebooks, and other papers pertaining to Thornton's interest in the development of the steamboat, his dispute with Benjamin Henry Latrobe over designs for the U.S. Capitol, Thornton's efforts to free African American slaves through colonization and emigration, and his appointments as a commissioner of Washington, D.C., and as superintendent of patents for the U.S. State Dept. Subjects include the revolt of the Spanish colonies in South America and Greek independence. Includes papers of his wife, Anna Maria Brodeau Thornton.
  • Correspondents include John Quincy Adams, Louisa Catherine Adams, Joseph Banks, Daniel Carroll, Andrew Ellicot, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Fulton, Thomas Jefferson, John Coakley Lettsom, James Madison, George Washington, Thomas Wilkinson, William Wirt, and Caspar Wistar.


  • Thornton, William, 1759-1828
  • Thornton, Anna Maria Brodeau, 1775?-1865


  • -  Adams, John Quincy,--1767-1848--Correspondence
  • -  Adams, Louisa Catherine,--1775-1852--Correspondence
  • -  Banks, Joseph,--1743-1820--Correspondence
  • -  Carroll, Daniel,--1764-1849--Correspondence
  • -  Ellicott, Andrew,--1754-1820--Correspondence
  • -  Franklin, Benjamin,--1706-1790--Correspondence
  • -  Fulton, Robert,--1765-1815--Correspondence
  • -  Jefferson, Thomas,--1743-1826--Correspondence
  • -  Latrobe, Benjamin Henry,--1764-1820
  • -  Lettsom, John Coakley,--1744-1815--Correspondence
  • -  Madison, James,--1751-1836--Correspondence
  • -  Washington, George,--1732-1799--Correspondence
  • -  Wilkinson, Thomas,--1751-1836--Correspondence
  • -  Wirt, William,--1772-1834--Correspondence
  • -  Wistar, Caspar,--1761-1818--Correspondence
  • -  District of Columbia.--Commissioner
  • -  United States Capitol (Washington, D.C.)
  • -  African Americans--Colonization--Africa
  • -  Patents--United States
  • -  Slavery--United States
  • -  Steamboats
  • -  Greece--History--1453-1821
  • -  South America--History--Wars of Independence, 1806-1830
  • -  Spain--Colonies--America


  • -  Arranged in five series. Series 1: Correspondence and Other Material, 1741-1858; Series 2: Writings, 1793-1829; Series 3: Miscellany, 1777-1865; Series 4: Addition, 1810-1812; and Series 5: Oversize, 1784-1813.
  • -  Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Container or reel number, William Thornton Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
  • -  Microfilm edition available in part, no. 15,714.
  • -  Microfilm produced from originals in the Manuscript Division. Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress Photoduplication Service, 1973.
  • -  Gift, J. Henley Smith, 1904.
  • -  Other gifts, purchases, and transfer, 1921-1991.
  • -  Related collection: Anna Maria Brodeau Thornton papers. Available in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division.
  • -  Architectural drawings transferred to Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • -  Architect, inventor, and superintendent of patents.
  • -  Collection material in English.
  • -  Finding aid available in the Library of Congress Manuscript Reading Room and at
  • -  Diaries of Anna Maria Brodeau Thornton transferred to her papers (MMC-3412), Library of Congress, Manuscript Division.


  • 3,400 items.
  • 20 containers plus 3 oversize.
  • 7 microfilm reels.
  • 5 linear feet.


  • Library of Congress Manuscript Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA dcu

Library of Congress Control Number

  • mm80042895

Access Advisory

  • Open to research.

Additional Metadata Formats

Finding Aid

Rights & Access

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Thornton, William, and Anna Maria Brodeau Thornton. William Thornton papers.

APA citation style:

Thornton, W. & Thornton, A. M. B. William Thornton papers.

MLA citation style:

Thornton, William, and Anna Maria Brodeau Thornton. William Thornton papers.