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Thomas Murray Wilson Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS111

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

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 was an avid traveler 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 traveled 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.


  • 1920 - 1944

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical note

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.


5 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials



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.

Thomas Murray Wilson Papers
Michael J. North
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057