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Thomas Butler Carter Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-127

Scope and Content of the Collection

Correspondence of Thomas Butler Carter of Chicago to his cousin Aaron Carter in New Jersey from 1831 to 1898, plus a few other letters. Also, an autobiographical account of Carter’s life until 1889, covering his early life, his difficult journey from New York to Chicago, and the fifty years after his arrival in Chicago in 1838. Both the correspondence and the autobiography yield interesting descriptions of Chicago social and family life, business affairs, real estate transactions, religious life, local politics, and Carter’s work as a purchasing agent for the Chicago Relief and Aid Society after the 1871 fire. Also, several family and business documents and two advertising cards, plus two cabinet photographs, one of Thomas Butler Carter and one of his nephew George Lansing Raymond, and four cartes de visite of Carter and his wife Catharine Raymond Carter.


  • Creation: 1831-1898



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Thomas Butler Carter Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Thomas Butler Carter Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Thomas Butler Carter

Chicago businessman.

Thomas Butler Carter was born in Union Hill, New Jersey in 1817, where he spent his boyhood. He began clerking at age 15 and continued at various stores until 1838, when his employer invited him to become a partner in a Chicago dry goods business. After many business and real estate setbacks, Carter ultimately became an agent for the Chicago Equitable Life Assurance Society.

In 1840, Carter married Catharine Raymond, sister of Benjamin Wright Raymond, third mayor of Chicago. They had ten children, five of whom died in infancy. After Catharine’s death, he married Margaret Garthwaite of Newark, New Jersey.

Thomas Butler Carter died in 1898.


0.1 Linear Feet (4 folders)


Letters dating 1831 to 1898 from Thomas Butler Carter to his cousin Aaron Carter in New Jersey, which give descriptions of Carter’s personal and business life in Chicago, plus a few other letters. Also includes a typescript of Carter’s autobiographical sketch of his life in Chicago (1889), six studio photographic portraits, and several miscellaneous documents.


Materials arranged by type.

Collection Stack Location

1 1 2


Gift, Margaret Carter Bannerman, 1978.

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2008.

Inventory of the Thomas Butler Carter Papers, 1831-1898
Virginia Hay Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 08/17/2011: Revisions, additions, and updates were made.

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States