Tuesday, February 05, 2013


Ink-Slinger Profiles: Richard Thain

Chicago Daily News

Richard Jenness Thain was born in Oak Park, Illinois, on April 9, 1886, according to his World War I draft card. The 1889 Chicago City Directory, listed his father, an advertising agent in Chicago who resided in Oak Park. In 1892 the family lived at 210 Home Avenue; their house was design by the firm, Patton & Fisher, Architects. (see pages 16 and 18)

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the second of six children born to Richard and Emma; his father worked in advertising. They lived in Cicero, Illinois. Information regarding Thain’s education and art training has not been found. He produced cartoons for the Chicago Daily News. His comic strip, Lord Longbow, began May 13, 1907. In 1909, he drew two days of Circus Solly for George Frink.

The 1910 census recorded him in Oak Park, Illinois at 210 Home Avenue, where he lived with his parents, older sister and aunt. He was a newspaper artist. His father, a real estate salesman, passed away November 26, 1912. According to the Cook County, Illinois Marriage Indexes at Ancestry.com, he married Elizabeth G. Slocum on October 19, 1915. He signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. He lived in Evanston, Illinois at 128 Main Street. A Chicago Daily News cartoonist, his description was medium height and build with brown eyes and hair. His first child was born in July 1917 and lived two days. The Rockford Morning Star (Illinois), September 27, 1927, said he was the publicity director of Carson Pirie Scott and Company, and had been on the Chicago Daily News staff for ten years. The Daily Northwester (Evanston, Illinois), August 25, 1929, identified him as the advertising manager of Carson Pirie Scott.

Thain was at the same address in 1920, and was an assistant advertising manager for a general merchandise company. A 1922 Evanston Directory listed him at 2646 McDaniel Avenue. In 1924, he filed an application for membership in the Illinois Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. He was the maternal great-great-grandson of Lieutenant-Colonel Nathaniel Emerson. His mother’s name was Mary Metcalf Jenness. The 1927 directory had him at 2407 Hartrey Avenue.

The 1930 census recorded the Thain family of five (three sons) at the same address. He was an advertising manager. His mother passed away June 3, 1939.

He was in sales promotion for a merchandise house, according to the 1940 census. He and his wife had eight years of schooling. Their oldest son, Richard Jr., had three years of college. On April 27, 1942, he signed his World War II draft card. It said he was employed at Butler Bros. in Chicago. A 1949 issue of the National Underwriter reported the following:

Mrs. Elizabeth Thain of Evanston, Ill., who died unexpectedly at Evanston Hospital Sunday at the age of 56, was the mother of Richard J. Thain [Jr.], assistant editor of The National Underwriter and editor of the “Insurance Exchange Magazine”. There are two other sons and her husband, Richard Jenness Thain of the advertising department of Butler Bros.

Thain passed away August 26, 1964, in Evanston, Illinois, according to a family tree at Ancestry.com.


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