Scope and Content
Title: Alfred C. Thomas Letters,
Date (inclusive): 1850-1851
Thomas, Alfred C.
Extent: 1 linear inch
Henry Madden Library (California State University, Fresno).
Sanoian Special Collections Library.
Photocopies of the letters were donated by Ann Hopping in 1969.
The collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been transferred to California State University, Fresno. Permission to
publish must be obtained from the Sherman Foundation, Corona del Mar, California.
[Identification of item], Alfred C. Thomas Letters, Sanoian Special Collections Library,
California State University, Fresno.
The California gold rush began in 1848 after James W. Marshall's discovery of gold dust
at John Sutter's sawmill at Coloma on the American River. This discovery prompted masses
of people from all over the United States and the world to move West and seek their
fortune. Alfred C. Thomas was one of them.
Scope and Content
The Alfred C. Thomas letters measure 1 inch and date from 1850 to 1851. There are
thirty-four photocopied letters from Alfred C. Thomas to his family, the originals of
which are at the Sherman Foundation, Corona del Mar, California. There are also
typescripts of the letters.
The first letter in the collection is from Thomas to his father at the start of his
112-day journey to San Francisco. There are eight letters which describe the different
cities and countries he traveled through in order to reach his destination. The letters
begin in Cincinnati, and describe his journey through Louisville, New Orleans, Panama,
Tobago, Monterey, and finally, Ophir (Mariposa County) and San Francisco.
The letters from San Francisco document how Thomas supported himself financially while
mining for gold. In addition, there are details about his diet, friends, and the various
deadly diseases that were common in San Francisco at the time.