Born: 1881 December 4 in Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Died: 1964 July 3 in Alameda, California, United States

Biography: Thomas graduated from high school in Cleveland in 1899. He then attended the Cleveland Art School from 1899 to 1902 and the Detroit Art School, from 1903 to 1905.

Thomas worked as a newspaper artist for the Cleveland Press (Cleveland, Ohio), from 1900 to 1902. He then worked doing advertising illustrations for unknown products for an unknown agency, from 1902 to 1904. In 1904, Thomas joined the Detroit News (Detroit, Michigan) as a cartoonist. Per Lambiek, he started doing political cartoons in 1912 for the Detroit News, continuing there until 1951.

For an unknown time period, Thomas' political cartoonists were syndicated through the North American Newspaper Alliance. He also worked in an unknown capacity for the Bell Syndicate and the Thompson Feature Service. His cartoon work appeared in Judge (Judge, 1881 series) and Life (Life Publishing Company, 1883 Series) magazines.

Thomas did the daily comic strip, Our Neighbors (Herbert Pointing syndicating), from February 5 to August 17, 1915. He later worked the Sunday only comic strip, Mister Straphanger, possibly the only comic strip syndicated by the Detroit News (and by 1923, by the News' corporate owner name, Evening News Association). Mister Straphanger ran from February 26, 1922 until sometime in 1933.

Locally in Detroit, Thomas is most famous for his December 10, 1914 cartoon "The Boy He Used to Be" depicting a well-to-do man, arms full with gifts, holding the hands with his newspaper selling childhood self. The cartoon so moved James J. Brady (director of Internal Revenue in Detroit), that he organized members of the local press and the local Detroit Newsboys' Association to create the charitable foundation, the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Fund of Detroit. The fund's goal being, "No kiddie without a Christmas."


    Burt Thomas Type: Common Alternative Name

Other Names:

  1. B. R. Thomas Type: Pen Name
  2. Burt Randolph Thomas Type: Name at Birth
    Given name: Burt Randolph Family name: Thomas


  1. Cleveland School of Art 1899 to 1902

  2. Detroit Art Academy 1903 to 1905