Thomason Room

The Thomason Room has been nicknamed “the treasure room” of the Newton Gresham Library. Tucked away on the fourth floor, it houses special collections of great historic value, including the Civil War collections, the TexAna collection, the Criminal Justice Special Collection and collections of both Sam Houston and Col. John Thomason Jr., Special Collections Librarian Paul Culp said. The room holds a variety of printed books and manuscripts, some of which date back into the 1600’s, as well as artifacts like paintings, sculptures and antique furniture. “This is a place to collect all sorts of things that won’t fit anywhere else,” Culp said. After the Newton Gresham Library’s completion in 1968, the room was named for Col. John. W. Thomason, Jr., a Huntsville native who served as a Marine Corps officer during WWI and WWII. He was a well-known author of his day, and has been recognized for the detailed sketches he illustrated within his books, which contribute to the content of the room. The Rev. E. E. Shettles collection and the Porter Civil War collection provide a number of books and other materials about and printed in the Confederacy. The majority of these materials came from retired faculty member Dr. Joseph Clark, Library Director Ann Holder said. “He worked hard to help the library acquire these collections,” Holder said. Another significant collection is the Criminal Justice Special Collection, which includes the manuscripts of Sanford Bates and James V. Bennett, the first two directors of the Bureau of Prisons. The Eliasberg col-criminology, forensic medicine and more. The Thomason Room also houses the material of distinguished authors like Mark Twain, Gertrude Stein and H.G. Wells. Culp said those who are most likely to use the room are history, criminal justice, and advanced photography and literature classes, but the room provides historic and informational material valuable to students in any major. The Thomason Room is open Monday through Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Students can set up an appointment to view the room by contacting the library.

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