Print / View Finding Aid as Single Page

© 2011 New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the David Ludlow Thompson Papers
1862-1961 (Bulk 1862-1865)
  MS 670.24

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Susan E. Burke

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on August 12, 2014
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

The David Ludlow Thompson papers consist primarily of letters that Thompson wrote to his mother, Keturah Sayre Thompson, and his friend, Elias A. Fairchild, describing army life, relating his experiences in battle, inquiring about friends and relations at home, and asking to be sent clothing, food, and reading materials. His letters also include detailed descriptions of the weather, the inedible rations, the ill-fitting garments provided by the U.S. Sanitary Commission, his poor attempts to mend his clothing, his bout with scurvy, and having to share his quarters with rodents and insects. His advanced education is evident in his frequent references to the literary canon, using quotes from Milton, Chaucer, and Tennyson to illustrate different situations.

Most notably, the letters include a description of the Battle at Antietam and a letter sent to Elias A. Fairchild, declaring that David Ludlow Thompson had been declared a prisoner of war after Antietam.

Also included in the collection are photocopies of articles written by Thompson regarding his experiences during the American Civil War, biographical information, and a wooden spoon that Thompson carved while being held at Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia.

Portions of this collection relating to the Civil War have been digitized and are available to on-site researchers and to users affiliated with subscribing institutions via EBSCOhost.


The David Ludlow Thompson papers are organized in the following six series:

  1. Series 1: Letters sent by David Ludlow Thompson to Keturah Sayre Thompson, 1863-1865
  2. Series 2: Letters sent by David Ludlow Thompson to Elias Fairchild, 1862-1865
  3. Series 3: Letters sent by David Ludlow Thompson addressed jointly to Keturah Sayre Thompson, Elias Fairchild, and other family members, 1863-1865
  4. Series 4: Other correspondence pertaining to David Ludlow Thompson, 1862-1865
  5. Series 5: Biographical and Geneaological Materials, 1961, undated
  6. Series 6: Wooden spoon made by David Ludlow Thompson, 1862