Thomas Wadley Raoul was born in Macon, Georgia, on August 13, 1876. He was educated in Savannah and New York before entering college at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In 1896, while he was employed with the cotton firm S. M. Inman and Company in Macon, he became ill with tuberculosis. During the years between 1897 and 1909, he travelled widely in the Western United States and in Europe, seeking to cure his illness. His permanent home during this period and afterwards was Asheville, North Carolina, where he managed the Raoul family's resort establishment, Albemarle Park, until 1920. From 1921 until his death in 1953, he was president of the Biltmore Forest Company and served as treasurer and clerk of the town of Biltmore Forest. He was president and director of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce and a member of the North Carolina Park Commission. He married Helen Doyle Bennett in 1910, and had two daughters , Kathleen (b. 1913) and Jane (b. 1915).
Scope and Content Note
Thomas Wadley Raoul's letters to his mother and other family members, particularly his father and sister Mary, cover 1886 to 1933, with the majority dating between 1895 and 1901. His early letters concern his travels to the Chicago World's Fair and Mexico, social events in Atlanta and Bolingbroke, and his employment in Macon (1895-1896). Many letters after 1896 were written during the frequent trips he undertook seeking a cure for his tuberculosis. These include letters from Mexico and California (1896-1897), Europe (1903), Arizona and Oregon (1904-1907), and Germany (1909). Several of the 1909 letters from Germany concern the condition of his sister Rosine, who contracted the disease during their stay there.
The majority of Tom Raoul's letters were written from Asheville, where he settled for health reasons in 1897. These primarily relate to the development and operation of the Albemarle Park Company. A few printed materials about Albemarle Park are included with the letters of 1902. Other Asheville letters concern social life at the Manor, visits from architect Bradford Gilbert and from family members, and civic and community affairs, particularly the public school system, road building, the activities of the Vanderbilt family (1900), and the status of tuberculosis legislation and the hotel trade in North Carolina (1915).
Arranged by record type.
|23||4a||1896 July - December|
|23||6||1898, January- March|
|23c||9||Invitation to Raoulwood, 25 May 1946|
|23c||10||Tribute April 1953; Obituary and tribute, April 8 1953( photocopy)|