Thomas family papers, 1936-1963 (bulk: 1942-1945)

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator:  Thomas family

Title:  Thomas family papers, 1936-1963 (bulk: 1942-1945)

Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Collections Department.

Size of Collection:  0.33 cu. ft. (in 1 cu. ft. box)

Location Number:  Mss. A T456

Biographical Note

Lucy C. Mickens (1895-1970) and Robert Thomas, Sr. (1885-1963) had three children: Miles C. (“Buck”) Thomas (1917-1991), Estella R. Thomas (1919-1994), and Robert L. (“Jack”) Thomas (1921-1984).  The family lived in Eastwood, Jefferson County, Kentucky.

It appears that Lucy Mickens and Robert Thomas, Sr. divorced in the 1920s.  Lucy Mickens remarried: first to Filmore Coleman, and later to John Clark.  She bought property on Gilliland Road in 1927 and worked as a laundress.

Miles and Robert Thomas both served in engineering battalions during World War II.  Estella Thomas worked at an [airplane assembly?] plant and briefly contemplated joining the WAC.

Miles and Robert Thomas both married; Estella Thomas appears not to have ever married.  Only Robert seems to have had children.  According to his obituary, his children were Clifford, Larry W., Glenn, Ray L., Jacqueline E., and Charlene.


Scope and Content Note

Papers of the Thomas family, an African American family of Eastwood, Jefferson County, Kentucky.  The bulk of the collection is comprised of letters written during World War II by brothers Miles C. “Buck” Thomas and Robert L. “Jack” Thomas.  Both brothers served in engineering battalions during World War II. The letters primarily are written to their mother, Lucy Mickens Clark, from various postings stateside and in Europe.

Folders 1-3 contain the wartime correspondence of Miles C. “Buck” Thomas, 1942-1945, who served in the 94th Engineering Regiment, Co. C.  Miles Thomas was inducted into the military at Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN and sent to Fort Leonard Wood, MO for basic training.  Following completion of basic training, his unit was stationed at Fort Dix, NJ.  According to his own account, he served in North Africa from Mar.-Oct. 1943; in Italy from Oct. 1943-Sept. 1944; in France from Sept. 1944-Mar. 1945; and arrived in Germany in Mar. 1945.

Folders 4-5 contain the wartime correspondence of Robert L. “Jack” Thomas, 1942-1945.  Robert Thomas trained at Eglin Field, FL from Oct. 1942 to May 1943. He served with the 859th Engineer Aviation Battalion, Co. A. in England, France, and Germany from 1943-1945.

Folder 6 contains letters from soldiers Edward “Eddie” Clark and James M. Holden to Estella Thomas and family.

Folder 7 contains letters received by Lucy Clark, especially from her brother, Luther Mickens.

Folder 8 contains funeral registers for Robert Thomas, Sr., Luther Mickens, John Clark, and Lucy Clark.

Folder 9 contains miscellaneous materials, including a balance due notice from Hall & Davis, an acknowledgment letter for membership in the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and clippings of obituaries.

Related Collections:

Thomas family photographs (022PC30)


Folder List

Box 1

Folder 1: Miles C. “Buck” Thomas letters to mother, Lucy Mickens Clark, April-August 1942

Folder 2: Miles C. “Buck” Thomas letters to mother, Lucy Mickens Clark, Sept. 1942-Jan. 1943

Folder 3: Miles C. “Buck” Thomas letters to mother, Lucy Mickens Clark, March 1943-1945

Folder 4: Robert L. “Jack” Thomas letters to mother, Lucy Mickens Clark, 1942-April 1943

Folder 5: Robert L. “Jack” Thomas letters to mother, Lucy Mickens Clark, May 1943-1945

Folder 6: Letters received by Estella Thomas, 1943-1945

Folder 7: Letters received by Lucy Clark, 1944-1945, 1956

Folder 8: Funeral home visitation and funeral registers, 1956, 1963, undated

Folder 9: Miscellaneous, 1936, undated


Subject Headings

African American agricultural laborers.

African American soldiers.

African Americans – Social life and customs.

African Americans – Southern States – Attitudes.

Anchorage (Ky.)

Clark, Edward.

Clark, Lucy C. Mickens, 1895-1970.



Eglin Air Force Base (Fla.)

Finance, Personal.

Fort Dix (N.J.)

Fort Leonard Wood (Mo.)

Holden, James M.


Livestock – Kentucky.

Mickens, Luther.


Soldiers – Training of – United States.

Soldiers – United States – Social life and customs – 20th century.

Thomas, Estella R., 1919-1994.

Thomas, Miles C., 1917-1991.

Thomas, Robert L., 1921-1984.

United States. Army – Military life.

United States. Army. Engineers, 94th.

United States. Army Air Forces. Engineer Aviation Battalion, 859th.

United States. Army. Women’s Army Corps.

World War, 1939-1945.

World War, 1939-1945 – African Americans.

World War, 1939-1945 – Campaigns – Africa, North.