Lowell Thomas bigraphy, stories - American journalist, news analyst and businessman

Lowell Thomas : biography

April 6, 1892 - August 29, 1981

Lowell Jackson Thomas (April 6, 1892August 29, 1981) was an American writer, broadcaster, and traveler, best known as the man who made Lawrence of Arabia famous. So varied were Thomas's activities that when it came time for the Library of Congress to catalog his memoirs they were forced to put them in "CT" ("biographies of subjects who do not fit into any other category") in their classification.


Early life and career

Thomas was born in Woodington, Darke County, Ohio, to Harry and Harriet (née Wagner) Thomas. His father was a doctor and his mother a school teacher. In 1900, the family moved to the mining town of Victor, Colorado. There he worked as a gold miner, a cook, and a reporter on the newspaper.

In 1910, Thomas graduated from Victor High School, where one of his teachers was Mabel Barbee Lee.Lee, Mabel Barbee: "Cripple Creek Days", pg. 265. Doubleday & Company, 1958 (LOC=58-12050) The following year, he graduated from Valparaiso University with bachelor's degrees in education and science. The next year he received both a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Denver and began work for the Chicago Journal, writing for it until 1914. Thomas also was on the faculty of Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Institute of Technology, where he taught oratory from 1912 to 1914. He then went to New Jersey, where he studied for a master's at Princeton University (he received the degree in 1916) and again taught oratory at the university.

A relentless self-promoter, Thomas persuaded railroads to give him free passage in exchange for articles extolling rail travel. When he visited Alaska, he hit upon the novel idea of the travelogue, movies about faraway places. When the United States entered World War I, he was part of an official party sent by President Wilson, former president of Princeton, to "compile a history of the conflict." In reality the mission was not academic. The war was not popular in the United States, and Thomas was sent to find material that would encourage the American people to support it. Thomas did not want to merely write about the war, he wanted to film it. He estimated that $75,000 would be needed for filming, which the U.S. government thought too expensive, and so he turned to a group of 18 Chicago meat packers. (He had done them a favor by exposing someone who was blackmailing them, without the damaging material becoming public.)

Lowell Thomas awards

Since 1980, the Explorers Club, which Thomas was a member of, annually presents the Lowell Thomas award to "honor men and women who have distinguished themselves in the field of exploration". The awards are presented at a yearly dinner to a select group of people having made particular contributions in the specific area chosen to be that year's focus. Past awardees include Edmund Hillary, Isaac Asimov, David Doubilet, Mary Cleave, Buzz Aldrin and Bertrand Piccard. at www.explorers.org

Since 1985, the Society of (North) American Travel Writers (SATW) has held an annual Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition for outstanding print, online and multimedia works and for travel photography and both audio and video broadcast. Past awardees included Elisabeth Eaves, Jeff Biggers and National Geographic Traveler('08 and '09). Retrieved 2010-02-26. In the 2008-9 awards, faculty members of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication, coordinated by Monica Hill, judged the competition. There were 1,191 entries and awards in 25 categories. Retrieved 2010-02-26. In the 2007-8 awards, faculty members of the Missouri School of Journalism judged the competition in 24 categories. Retrieved 2010-02-26.

In popular culture

Thomas was fictionalized in David Lean's 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia as American journalist Jackson Bentley, played by Arthur Kennedy. In the unofficial sequel to Lawrence, A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia (1990), he was more accurately portrayed by actor Adam Henderson, who gave a recreated version of Thomas's slide lectures on Lawrence.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine