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Thomas P. Thompson Papers

Identifier: MS170

  • Staff Only


Thomas P. Thompson, an 1896 graduate of Georgia Tech, earned his master's degree from Cornell University in 1898. He spent most of his professional life in Norfolk, Virginia, where he served as city manager from 1933 until 1938 and was named "First Citizen" in 1950. His papers include copies of "The Georgia Tech" and student labs and reports from Cornell University.


  • 1894-1957 (bulk 1894-1898)
  • Majority of material found within 1894 - 1898


Restrictions: Access


Restrictions: Use

Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.


0.4 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

The Thomas P. Thompson papers include copies of "The Georgia Tech," biographical information, student labs and reports from Cornell University, and a prospectus from the Realty Trust Company. The biographical information includes an obituary and an editorial written at the time of his death in 1957; the editorial in particular notes his accomplishments in Norfolk.

The Realty Trust Company's prospectus details development in Atlanta in 1908. Thompson completed the student labs and reports mainly in cooperation with his fellow students. Sample topics include "Triple Corless Test and Hirns Analysis," "Test of Ericson Hot-Air Engine," and "Test of DeLaVergue Ice Machine."

Copies of "The Georgia Tech," a student publication issued monthly in the interest of Georgia Tech, date from the inaugural issue in February 1894 through 1897; however, the collection is not comprehensive. According to the first issue, the monthly showed "the real life of the student - his trials, his work and his pleasures," and the magazine does provide an excellent flavor of student life at Georgia Tech in the 1890s. A section variously entitled "Localisms" and "Locals" contains lists of visitors to campus, as well as inside jokes among students. Some issues have profiles of regional mills and factories, and most have a technical article written by either a faculty member, most often J. S. Coon, or an alumni. Later issues include short stories written by students. Activities of the Literary Society and Athletics are regularly reported. The 1896 Commencement issue contains photographs of fraternities and the baseball team. The commencement issue generally contains the full text of the baccalaureate address and commencement speech. The issues are all very brittle, and some have water and mold damage.

Biography of Thomas P. Thompson (1876-1957)

Thomas Perrin Thompson, the son of John S. and Janie Perrin Thompson, was born in Abbeville, South Carolina on April 2, 1876, but moved with his family to Atlanta when he was a child. After attending schools in Atlanta, he enrolled at the Georgia Institute of Technology, from which he graduated in 1896. He completed two years of post-graduate coursework in engineering at Cornell University.

After graduation, he was placed in charge of the Electrical Testing Laboratories in the Brooklyn Navy Yard; in 1900, he transferred to the Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia. Two years later, he resigned in order to form a partnership with Clarence A. Neff. Their firm, Neff and Thompson, Architects and Builders, remained active in the Tidewater area for thirty years. While associated with Neff and Thompson, Thompson became increasingly involved in the civic life of Norfolk. He was active in the Chamber of Commerce, and when a movement to relocate the Naval Training Station from Hampton Roads to Newport, Rhode Island gained impetus, he travelled to Washington to successfully lobby against the move.

He and Neff dissolved their partnership in 1933 so that Thompson could accept the position of City Manager of Norfolk. He was instrumental in the construction of bridges, the Norfolk Airport, and several beautification projects. He left this position in 1938 to become managing director of the Southeastern Chain Store Council, but remained active in local projects. In 1950, he was designated Norfolk's "First Citizen."


Folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Other Finding Aids

A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.


The Department of Libraries, City of Norfolk, donated these papers in 2003 (Accession #2003.008).

Processing Information

Susan J. Illis processed these papers in 2003

Inventory of the Thomas P. Thompson Papers, 1894-1957 (bulk 1894-1898)
Susan J. Illis
Copyright 2002.
Description rules
Finding Aid Updated Using Rlg Best Practice Guidelines For Encoded Archival Description
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology Repository

Georgia Institute of Technology
266 4th Street, NW
Atlanta 30332-0900 USA