Mortimer Thomson

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Mortimer Thomson

Mortimer Q. Thomson (September 2, 1832 – June 25, 1875) was an American journalist and humorist who wrote under the pseudonym Q. K. Philander Doesticks. He was born in Riga, New York and grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He attended Michigan University in Ann Arbor, but was expelled along with several others either for his involvement in secret societies[1] or for "too much enterprise in securing subjects for the dissecting room."[2] After a brief period working in theater, he became a journalist and lecturer.

For his published writings he used the pen name "Q. K. Philander Doesticks, P. B.", a pseudonym he had first used in university (the full version is "Queer Kritter Philander Doesticks, Perfect Brick").[1] A collection published in 1855, Doesticks What He Says, reprinted many of his pieces. In 1856 he wrote Plu-Ri-Bus-Tah, a parody of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Song of Hiawatha.

As a correspondent for the New York Tribune he wrote a report on the Pierce Butler slave sale in Savannah, Georgia in 1859 that was subsequently published as a tract by the American Anti-slavery Society and translated into several languages.[1]

Thomson died in New York City on June 25, 1875. In 1888, when his short piece, "A New Patent Medicine Operation", was anthologized in Mark Twain's Library of Humor, an introductory paragraph described Thomson as a figure whose "dashing and extravagant drolleries" had quickly passed from fashion.[3]


  • Doesticks: A Poetical Letter ... to His Younger Brother, Containing a Thousand and One Lines. Detroit: Wales, 1854.
  • Doesticks What He Says. New York: E. Livermore, 1855.
  • Plu-Ri-Bus-Tah: a song that's by no author, a deed without a name. New York: Livermore & Rudd, 1856.
  • (with Edward Fitch Underhill) The History and Records of the Elephant Club: Comp. from Authentic Documents Now in Possession of the Zoological Society. New York: Livermore & Rudd, 1856.
  • Nothing to Say: a Slight Slap at Mobocratic Snobbery, Which Has 'Nothing to Do' with 'Nothing to Wear'. New York: Rudd, 1857.
  • Great Auction Sale of Slaves at Savannah, Georgia, March 2d and 3d, 1859. New York: American Anti-slavery Society, 1859.
  • The Witches of New York, as Encountered by Q.K. Philander Doesticks, P.B. New York: Rudd & Carleton, 1859.
  • The Lady of the Lake: A Travestie in One Act. The minor drama, no. 176. New York: S. French, 1860.


  1. ^ a b c Johnson and Brown 1904, vol. 10.
  2. ^ New York Times: "Mortimer Thomson–'Doesticks'," June 26, 1875, accessed April 7, 2010
  3. ^ Twain, Kemble, Howells & Clark 1888, p. 532.


  • Johnson, Rossiter, and John Howard Brown. The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans. Boston: Biographical Society, 1904.
  • Twain, Mark, E. W. Kemble, William Dean Howells, and Charles Hopkins Clark. Mark Twain's Library of Humor. New York: Charles L. Webster & Co, 1888.
  • New York Times: "Mortimer Thomson–'Doesticks'," June 26, 1875, accessed April 7, 2010

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