Thistlewood family papers, 1748-1792


Date: 1748-1792 | Size: 16 microfilm_reel(s)


This collection contains diaries, weather records, and commonplace books of Thomas Thistlewood for the years 1748-1786. His diaries (37 volumes) cover two years in England (in London and in Lincolnshire) and the remaining time in Jamaica (1750-1786). This is a rich source for agricultural, daily routines, slave life, folklore, natural history, medical diagnosis and remedies, the intellectural world of an Anglo-Jamaican, his sex life, and the climatic history of Jamaica. There are also miscellaneous volumes, such as a list of slaves, 1758-1766. Included in the collection is the journal of his nephew, John Thistlewood, 1763-1765, describing his voyage to Jamaica and life on his uncle's plantation.

Background note

Thomas Thistlewood left England in 1750 for Jamaica, becoming an estate manager of a cattle farm (Vineyard Pen) and then overseer of a sugar estate (Egypt). In 1767, he bought his own property (Breadnut Island Pen) and raised crops and livestock. He owned about thirty slaves. He died on his estate in 1786.

Collection Information

Physical description

16 microfilm reels.


Purchased from Lincolnshire County Archives, England, and accessioned, 10/31/1984 (1984 734mf).

Location of originals:

Originals in Lincolnshire County Archives, England.

African American History Note

Of particular interest to scholars of African American history are the materials relating to Thistlewood's time in Jamaica (1751-1786), where he managed a cattle estate (Vineyard Pen) and a sugar plantation (Egypt).

Early American History Note

This is a microfilm of an early American collection that may be of interest to researchers at the APS and may complement an original manuscript collection at the APS.

Indexing Terms


  • Diaries.
  • Microfilm Collection

Geographic Name(s)

  • Jamaica -- Climate.
  • Jamaica -- Social life and customs -- 18th century.
  • West Indies -- Social life and customs -- 18th century.

Personal Name(s)

  • Thistlewood family.
  • Thistlewood, John
  • Thistlewood, Thomas, 1721-1786


  • Agriculture -- Jamaica.
  • Cattle.
  • Culture, community, organizations
  • Folklore
  • Folklore -- Jamaica
  • Meteorology -- Jamaica -- Observations.
  • Natural history -- Jamaica.
  • Plantations
  • Plantations -- Jamaica.
  • Slaveholders -- Jamaica.
  • Slavery -- Jamaica.
  • Slaves, slavery, slave trade
  • Sugar growing -- Jamaica.
  • Traditional medicine -- Jamaica.