Sonia P. Seherr-Thoss papers, 1920-2006
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Brief Description: The papers of Sonia P. Seherr-Thoss (1919-2006), writer, photographer, dairy farmer, philanthropist, and long-time Litchfield, Conn., resident. The majority of the papers document the foreign travels she made with her husband Hans Christoph Seherr-Thoss (1912-1992) and family members and friends to Europe, Russia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran, India, China, Japan, Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, the Galapagos Islands, and other places. The papers also relate to her involvement in local organizations, such as the Litchfield Historical Society; her philanthropic activities in the region; and Butternut Brook Jerseys, the dairy farm she ran with her husband. There is limited documentation relating to her books: Design and Color in Islamic Architecture: Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, which includes photographs taken by Hans, Human to Be and Other Essays, And the River Runs Red, Black and White and Red, and Ideas and Adventures. Among the papers are more than 10,000 photographic images that fully record her travels, her life and residences in Litchfield and Arizona, and her family and friends. Some of the trips are chronicled by diaries and notebooks. The collection also includes detailed architectural plans and drawings made by Hans for the construction of their houses in Litchfield and Arizona.
Held at:
Litchfield Historical Society
7 South Street, P.O. Box 385
Litchfield, CT 6759
Phone: 860-567-4501
Fax: 860-567-3565
Email: archivist [at]
Created by: Seherr-Thoss, Sonia P. (1919-2006), Seherr-Thoss, Hans Christoph (1912-1992)
Volume: 48.3 Linear Feet
Acquired: 10/10/2006. 2014-47-0 gift of Bruce Farrell. 5 Photograph albums, 3 prints of property; photograph of  house; 2 framed property plans.
Biographical Note for Seherr-Thoss, Sonia P. (1919-2006) : Writer, photographer, dairy farmer, philanthropist, and long-time Litchfield, Conn., resident, Sonia Phipps Farrell Seherr-Thoss was the granddaughter of Henry Phipps, a partner of steel industrialist Andrew Carnegie and the daughter of Henry Carnegie Phipps and Gladys Livingston Mills Phipps. Sonia, who went by the nickname Sunny, grew up in Roslyn, Long Island, New York; New York City; and Palm Beach, Fla. She married Hans Seherr-Thoss, nicknamed Boysie, in Palm Beach, Fla. in 1948. Both had children from previous marriages. Also in 1948, the Seherr-Thosses purchased property in Litchfield, Conn. They established Butternut Brook Jerseys, a dairy farm, in 1956, which they ran until 1966. They also had residences in New York City and Wickenburg, Ariz. With her husband, family, and friends, Sunny Seherr-Thoss traveled extensively to such places as Europe, Russia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran, India, China, Japan, Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and the Galapagos Islands. In 1968, the Smithsonian Institution Press published Design and Color in Islamic Architecture: Afganistan, Iran, Turkey. Written by  Mrs. Seherr-Thoss, the photographs were taken by Mr. Seherr-Thoss. Following his death, she wrote four more books. She was active in philanthropic activities in the Litchfield area.
Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.
Subject Index
Afghanistan - Description and travel
Butternut Brook Jerseys
Charities - Connecticut
Dairy farming - Connecticut
Decoration and ornament, Architectural - Middle East
Iran - Description and travel
Islamic decoration and ornament - Middle East
Litchfield (Conn.)
Litchfield Historical Society (Conn.)
Seherr-Thoss, Hans Christoph, 1912-1992
Seherr-Thoss, Sonia P., 1919-2006
Seherr-Thoss Foundation
Turkey - Description and travel
Wickenburg (Ariz.)
Genres/Forms of Material
Funeral book
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: Copyright has been transferred to the Litchfield Historical Society for materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Acquisition Notes: Wendy Victor  Gift
Related Materials: Hans C. and Sonia P. Seherr-Thoss Photographs of Islamic Architecture. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution. Washington, D.C.
Related Publications:

Seherr-Thoss, Sonia P. Design and Color in Islamic Architecture: Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey. (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Instution Press) 1968.

Seherr-Thoss, Sonia P. Human to Be and Other Essays. (Santa Barbara, CA : Fithian Press) 1995.

Seherr-Thoss, Sonia P. And the Rivers Run Red. (Santa Barbara, CA: Fithian Press) 1998.

Seherr-Thoss, Sonia P. Black and Red and White: Essays. (Santa Barbara, CA: Fithian Press) 2002.

Seherr-Thoss, Sonia P. Ideas and Adventures, 1200 to 1700. (Austin, TX: Synergy Books) 2007.

PreferredCitation: Sonia P. Seherr-Thoss papers (2006-34-0), Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, P.O. Box 385, 7 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759