Skip to main content
Notice: The Library is open for research by appointment only, please visit our research services page for more information.

Theodore F. Wurts papers, 1850-1919

Accession: 1982Identifier: 1982-VI.

Part of collection: Wurts family papers (1982)


  • Creation: 1850-1919

Historical Note

Theodore F. Wurts (1844-1911), a son of William and Lucretia Jeannette Lathrop Wurts, was born in Wilkes-Barre and at age sixteen worked in the railroad shops of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company at Carbondale. During the Civil War, he enlisted in "The Wurts Guard" that was part of the Thirteenth Regiment, Pennsylvania and then enlisted in the Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania Infantry. After service he held several civilian jobs and in 1864 he began his career as an engineer. Wurts was an instructor at the Massachusetts Agricultural College and Amherst College in the 1870s. He was the chief engineer for the construction of a division of the Connecticut Western Railroad (1870) and for sixty miles of the Massachusetts Central Railroad (1873), and he oversaw the building of bridges over the Connecticut River at Northampton, Massachusetts (1873). In 1877 he located the Short Line Railroad from Camden to Atlantic City, New Jersey and was consulting engineer and superintendent of the Atlantic City Railroad (1876-1877). Wurts worked as a civil engineer in Florida in 1881 and 1892.

In addition to railroads, Theodore Wurts's engineering work also included surveying and reporting on coal mines in Pennsylvania coal fields. He also surveyed and laid out several New Jersey beach towns. Wurts received two United States patents in 1889 and 1891 for his system of coast protection that entailed constructing breakwaters, sea-walls and jetties and reclaiming overflowed lands.

Wurts was very active in the Presbyterian Church wherever he lived and spent several years in voluntary missionary work establishing Sunday schools for the American Sunday School Union in West Virginia and Kentucky.

Theodore F. Wurts married Anna Vanuxem in 1868 and they had ten children, of which five reached adulthood. After living in New Jersey (Bridgeton, Atlantic City, and Belvidere) for many years, Wurts and his family in 1896 moved to Germantown, where he died.

Scope and Contents

The Theodore F. Wurts Papers consist primarily of his engineering papers and include drawings, maps, reports, and specifications for his work on railroads, coal mines, New Jersey seashore communities, and his patents for coast protection.


1 Linear Foot

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Related Names



Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA