The Edna Thomas Collection, dating from the 1900s to the 1950s, depicts some aspects of the actress' personal and professional life. The collection consists of individual and group portraits as well as candid shots of Thomas, her husband and friends. Documentation of Thomas' professional life show her in a character study and in views of theater scenes. The collection is limited in documenting Thomas' childhood and her involvement in the Harlem Renaissance.
Statement of responsibility: Collection contains work by James Latimer Allen, James J. Kriegsmann, Thomas D. Sanford, Carl Van Vechten, Gee & Watson, and WPA Federal Theatre Photos, among others.
Content: Collection includes quarter and three-quarter length studio portraits of Thomas, including one by James Latimer Allen. Some snapshots of Thomas show her with dogs and children, visiting Florida (1956, 1957) and posing theatrically for the camera. Lloyd Thomas, her husband, is depicted in a studio portrait by Carl Van Vechten. Photos of Thomas' friends include studio portraits of Alberta Hunter, Fredi Washington, Elizabeth Welch, and Olivia Wyndham. Other images of Olivia Wyndham show her as a child with her mother (?) in a cabinet card and document her service in the U.S. Army Signal Corp. She is also depicted with Thomas in snapshots. The Peters Sisters are depicted in a restaurant with Jimmie Daniels. Daniels is also pictured with Elizabeth Welch.
Thomas is depicted in a character study by Van Vechten as the old Mexican woman in the stage version of "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1948). The collection contains views of scenes from "Macbeth" produced by the Negro Theatre Project of the Federal Theatre Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) (1936), directed by Orson Welles and featuring Jack Carter and Thomas.