Wednesday, May 09, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Tom H. Foley

Thomas Henry Foley was born on February 3, 1887, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, according to his World War I draft card which also had his full name. The !900 U.S. Federal Census recorded his birth month and year as February 1887. However, a transcription at the Minnesota, Births and Christenings Index (at has the same birthplace but the birth year was 1888.

In the 1900 census, Foley was the fourth of five children born to John, an Irishman and stone mason, and Ellen, an Englishwoman. The family resided in Minneapolis at 1534 East 22nd Street.

Inklings of Foley’s talent appeared frequently in the Minneapolis Journal from 1902 to 1904 in its section, The Journal Junior.

The Minneapolis Journal, January 10, 1903, announced the winner of an art scholarship and said 

Zula J. Bottenfield, Seventh Grade, Madison School, has won the scholarship offered in connection with the work in the Junior advertising department, and is entitled to four months instruction at the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts. As was announced at the beginning, these scholarships are awarded wholly upon the artistic merit of the designs, irrespective as to what makes the best advertisement: All things considered Miss Bottenfield’s work best filled the requirements, although the work of Esther Chapman and Thomas H. Foley is deserving of special mention.
Foley was mentioned in St. Nicholas, March 1904.

Information about Foley’s training has not been found. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Foley produced over a dozen comics for the Minneapolis Journal, from 1909 to 1913, including Buddy and His Wonderful Lamp, The City Fairies, and Here’s to Your Health, which debuted late in 1926.

In the 1910 census, newspaper artist Foley continued to live with his parents and remaining siblings. They lived in Minneapolis at 2213 Chicago Avenue.

On June 5, 1917, Foley signed his World War I draft card. He was married and lived in Excelsior, Minnesota. His description was tall and slender with brown eyes and black hair.

Cartoons Magazine, September 1917, published this item about Foley. 

Thomas Foley, cartoonist of the Minneapolis Daily News, won the prize offered for the best recruiting poster design for the First Minnesota artillery. It shows a 14 inch gun in action. The caption reads: “Do you dare to join the First Minnesota artillery?”

According to the 1920 census, Foley and Mildred made their home in Minneapolis at 2701 Clinton Avenue.
Foley was employed at the Minneapolis Daily Star which featured him in its April 25, 1924 edition.

In the 1930 census, the couple were residents of Minnetonka, Minnesota. The census said newspaper artist Foley was 29 when he married Mildred.

Foley passed away sometime before the 1940 census which recorded his wife as a widow in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

—Alex Jay


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