Manuscript Collections - Harold A. “Bus” Thomas Collection

Oct 18, 2021

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum is now open to the public for viewing of the permanent galleries on the life and times of Herbert Hoover and the temporary exhibit gallery, Leonardo da Vinci Machines in Motion. 

The Research Room, the Museum Gift Shop and Public and Educational Programs remain closed at this time. For more information visit or buy tickets online.


1 linear foot, 8 linear inches (3 LGA-S boxes, 1 oversize box)
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

Harold Thomas was born in West Branch on November 29, 1903.  He picked up the nickname Bus during his childhood from for wearing a Buster Brown suit.  In 1922 he graduated from West Branch High School. He married Catherine Krouth in Rock Island, IL on January 3, 1924.  The couple, members of the Conservative Friends Meeting, had two sons, Phillip and Kenneth.  In 1965 Thomas retired from the Post Office after 25 years of service.  Thomas died in West Branch on March 28, 1997.

As a young boy his mother, Pauline, worked as a correspondent for the West Branch Times.  Back then he kept a notebook of events, which sparked an interest in local history.  Over time he became an unofficial historian for West Branch.  The Harold A. Thomas Collection consists of two linear feet of reminiscences, correspondence, published materials, oral history audio recordings, reproductions of photographs, and other historical materials documenting early West Branch history and information on the family of Herbert Hoover.

Box      Contents

1          Airplanes
            Automobiles and Classic Cars (3 Folders)
            Belle Plaine
            Blacksmith’s Shop
            Business Houses
            Chamber of Commerce
            Churches and Cemeteries
            Civil War Veterans
            Downey Store
            Enlow Library
            Brown, John
            Farm Tractors
            Fire Department
            Flexible Flyer Sled
            Fourth of July Celebrations
            Gower Township Historical Sketch

2          Herbert Hoover Library and Birthplace
            Heritage Museum
            Hoover, Herbert – Birth
            Horseshoe Park
            Jackson, Ann Eliza Craven (midwife who delivered Herbert Hoover)
            Leech, Dr. L. J.
            Livery Stables
            Local History – Multiple Subjects
            Mayors of West Branch
            Mercer, John
            Morris, Albert – Residence
            Oasis Store
            Opera Block Building
            Plato Store
            Presidential Visits to West Branch
            Post Office

2          Railroads and Trains
                        Audiotapes on RR History
                        Breakfast Bacon Special
                        Historical Notes and General
                        Pictures and Photographs
            Scattergood School
            School Play, 1926
            Stage Coach
            Street Scenes

3          Thomas Family History
            Thomas, Harold (Bus) (includes reminiscences)
            Tomato Queen, 1930
            Town Hall
            Trucks and Classic Trucks
            Union Block Building
            West Branch Gun Club
            West Branch Lions Club Charter Night, 1950
            West Branch Public Works
            Wilhelm, Carl
            Miscellaneous (2 Folders)

4  (Oversize Items)
            Map of West Branch, Undated
            Team Photo
            West Branch Cemetery, 1879