Selected References

Click References button above to view source material and recommended reading, or click here and return to Kansas, Dorothy!
Russellville, KY, Public Library Endowed by Thomas P. de Graffenried, Jr.

Some Well- and Not-So-Well- Known Kentuckian Kin,
and Mary Clare de Graffenried (Born in Macon, Ga.)
Thomas Pritchett de Graffenried [1881-1961]


Thomas P. de Graffenried, older of the two sons of Thomas Pritchett, Sr. and Mattie (Long) de Graffenried, was born on Nov. 13, 1881, in Russellville, KY, the town to which he willed the greater part of his estate "to be used...for the education of the people at large therein."

After receiving his Bachelor's degree from Bethel College in Kentucky, Thomas P., Jr., left Russellville for New York, to return only once in his lifetime. At the age of 22, he graduated from Columbia University Law School. He read law and served an apprenticeship under the Hon. Roger Foster before beginning his own practice in 1903. After a few lean early years, Thomas became increasingly successful; he was a member of counsel of the Cunard Steamship lines.
"Onkel" Tom's Boyhood Home in Russellville
Thomas traveled extensively. Following active duty in World War I with the rank of Capt., he visited Japan, China and the Philippines and was intrigued by Eastern culture. He never married. Perhaps he never found the time! He was a prolific letter writer and maintained a close connection with the European de Graffenried family throughout his lifetime. He was very family oriented, with an especially deep affection and respect for his cousin, Mary Clare de Graffenried [1849–1921] of Washington, D.C., who along with her mother (Mrs. Col. William Kirkland de Graffenried) aided Thomas in his genealogical endeavors.

Mary Clare de Graffenried at Her Curio Cabinet
Mary Clare de Graffenried was an historian, women's rights activist, and writer whose work contributed significantly to improved labor conditions in the U.S. [She was sent by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to study women workers in Great Britain during Cleveland's presidency.]

Like Thomas, Mary Clare never married and she also traveled a great deal in Europe, Africa, and Asia. An article by a "well-known European writer" who visited her in Washington in 1913 was translated in "The Living Age" (July 18, 1925) and quoted by Thomas P. de Graffenried (1925): "I became acquainted in Washington with a very exceptional person – an elderly, unmarried, highly cultivated lady, Miss deG., who knew as much about the art of every country in the world as any professional art-historian. She had traveled the globe over in every direction collecting things and her residence, from cellar to attic, was half a museum." [Mary Clare has always been my role-model; I also decorate in the Victorian style: Too much is not enough! MsDeG]
Thomas P. de Graffenried was a great favorite of younger family members, hence the title, "Onkel" Tom (or perhaps rather than German, it should be written in French: "Oncle" Tom – or "Uncle" works; just spell his surname properly!), which was used by all the less senior kinfolk in his circle. He loved to cook, frequently entertaining friends and family. In addition to the planned second volume of the 'de Graffenried Family Scrap Book,' a cookbook written by Thomas was also nearing completion. Both went unpublished at his death and the cookbook, allegedly lost. Excerpts from what was to have been the second Scrap Book have appeared episodically in the "Newsletter of the de Graffenried Association™" which has recently (2003) been renamed the "Journal."

Thomas also had a deep appreciation for art and music – he was a talented pianist – but perhaps his greatest love was genealogy. He demonstrated his devotion to family research by the publication of the decisive work to date on the American Graffenrieds: 'History of the de Graffenried Family — 1191 AD to 1925' (published privately, with private funding, by Vail-Ballou Press, Binghamton and New York, 1928). Thomas P. de Graffenried also authored two additional "family books": 'The de Graffenried Name in Literature' (The William-Frederick Press, New York, 1950) and, as mentioned above, 'The de Graffenried Family Scrap Book — 1191 to 1956' (University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville, 1958).
Thomas P. de Graffenried, Jr., "Onkel Tom," died in New York City on May 23, 1961, at the age of 79. He is remembered fondly. Even those of us who never had the privilege of meeting him think that we know him. Thus anecdotes such as the one below, provided by Mrs. Bob Burns for the 1710 Society© Newsletter (v. 2, no. 3, Aug. 1996), are read with great pleasure.
We first met Uncle Tom in about December, 1950, when we had just moved to Long Island, NY. We bought a house. We were told that to get Title Insurance we needed to have a lawyer's name in one of the application blanks. Uncle Tom told us to put in his name. Lo and behold, several weeks later we received a check from the Title company, made out to Thomas P. de Graffenried, which he had endorsed and forwarded to us. We visited Uncle Tom several times from 1950 to 1957. Each time he always welcomed our children and always had some present for them. On one occasion we were introduced to a visitor, an international lawyer, from Europe. He was a member of the de Graffenried family. When introduced, he bowed and clicked his heels. We don't remember his name. I recall that during one visit Uncle Tom had the most delicious oversized shrimp and dip. He had gotten it for visitors even though shrimp was not part of his diet. We talked a number of times about the de Graffenried family. He had used a picture of my grandfather, Robert Patilla de Graffenried, in the de Graffenried History. My uncle, Lacy de Graffenried, had provided my immediate family information to Uncle Tom. We moved to Arizona in 1957. We kept track, via Christmas cards, until he died. Our memories of Uncle Tom are the best. – Yvonne "Eve" (de Graffenried) Burns
Click here to check references (all of which I have in my library; I might be persuaded to look up something if you've despaired of ever finding a particular book).