Alexander Thom (almanac editor)

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Alexander Thom (1801–1879) was a Scottish publisher, the founder of Thom's Irish Almanac.


He was born at Findhorn in Moray, the son of the writer and journalist Walter Thom. He was educated at the High School, Edinburgh, and went to Dublin at age 20 to assist his father in the management of the Dublin Journal. On his father's death he obtained, through the influence of Sir Robert Peel, the contract for printing for the post office in Ireland. In 1838 he obtained the contract for the printing for all royal commissions in Ireland, and in 1876 was appointed to the post of Queen's Printer for Ireland.[1]

In 1844 Thom founded the work for which he is known, the Irish Almanac and Official Directory, which became a leader in its field. It incorporated statistics relating to Ireland.[1] Thom supervised its publication for over 30 years, passing the copyright to his son-in-law Frederick Pilkington in 1876.[2] In 1860 he published for free distribution A Collection of Tracts and Treatises illustrative of the Natural History, Antiquities, and the Political and Social State of Ireland, two volumes[3][4] which contain reprints of writers on Irish affairs in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Included are works of James Ware, Edmund Spenser, Sir John Davies, William Petty, George Berkeley, and others such as Gerard Boate, Thomas Prior and Arthur Dobbs.[1]

In 1878, during a printers' strike in Dublin, Thom sent work to Scotland. The resulting publicity brought the issue to the attention of the Westminster Parliament.[5]

Thom, who was twice married, died at his residence, Donnycarney House, near Dublin, on 22 December 1879.[1]



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Thom, Alexander". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

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