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Charles Allen Thomas Papers

Identifier: WUA-03-wua00199


  • 1916-1977


Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)


10 linear feet

14 boxes

Biographical Information

Charles Allen Thomas was born on February 15, 1900 in Lexington, Kentucky. He attended Transylvania College, where he received a BA in 1920 and a D.Sc. in 1933.  Thomas also attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he received a MA in 1924. During his early career, Thomas worked at General Motors as a research chemist from 1923 to 1936 and also at Thomas and Hochwalt Laboratories, of which he was also a founder, from 1926 to 1936. Additional employment included: Vice President of Dayton Synthetic Chemicals (1930-34) and Vice President of Carbosolve Corporation (1931-36).  The majority of his career, however, was spent at Monsanto where he worked from 1936 to 1970.  At Monsanto his positions included President of Monsanto Petroleum Chemicals Division (1934-37), Director of Central Research Department (1936-46), President of Monsanto Chemical Company (1951-60), Chairman of the Board of Directors (1960-65), Chairman of the Technical Committee (1964-67), Chairman of the Finance Committee (1965-68), and numerous other honorary posts.

Thomas specialized in Atomic Energy (specifically Plutonium Purification), Oil Fire Extinguishing, Fossil Fuel Additives, and Synthetic Rubber.  He accumulated many honors, and during his lifetime held over 75 patents.  Thomas was the recipient of the United States Medal for Merit (1946), the Industry Research Institute Medal (1947), the American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal (1948), the Missouri Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering (1952), the Society of Chemical Industries Perkin Medal (1953), the ACS Priestly Medal (1955), the Order of Leopold (1962), the Societe de Chimie Industrielle Palladium Medal (1963), the American Academy of Achievement Gold Plate Award (1965), and the Globe-Democrat Man of the Year (1966).

His involvement in the field of higher education involved serving as curator of Transylvania College, endowing the Charles Allen Thomas Professorship in Chemistry at Washington University (1976), and serving as chairman of the Board of Trustees at Washington University from 1966 – 1980.

Charles Allen Thomas died on March 29, 1982.


This collection is divided into seven series as follows:

Series 01:  Academic Development (arranged alphabetically)

Series 02:  Personal Development and Interests (arranged alphabetically)

Series 03:  Professional : Monsanto Company and Thomas and Hochwalt (arranged alphabetically)

Series 04:  Patents (arranged chronologically)

Series 05:  Professional and Personal : Related to Washington University (arranged alphabetically)

Series 06:  Reel-to-Reel Magnetic Tapes

Series 07:  Oversize Items and Ephemera (arranged by size / materials)

Method of Acquisition

This material was donated to the University Archives.

Processing Information

Processed by Jay Kempen in February 2001.  Updated by Sarah Pabarcus in October 2006. Updated by Miranda Rectenwald in December 2015.

Charles Allen Thomas Papers
Description rules
Language of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021 March 26: Resource record updated in ArchiveSpace by Sarah Schnuriger.

Collecting Area Details

Part of the University Archives Collecting Area

Sonya Rooney
Olin Library, 1 Brookings Drive
MSC 1061-141-B
St. Louis MO 63130 US
(314) 935-5495