Who Was F.W. Thomas?

I meant to post about this earlier, but was tied up in the Archives. My roommate and the DCeiver (Jason Linkins) will be reading from his new work The Taking of the Orange Line 1-2-3 with some local theater folks. See you there!


Greetings Journalist/Listings Editor/Blogger/Citizen:

Thank you for your attention. This is to alert you to the first installment of the F.W. Thomas Performances , a new monthly literary variety show featuring live presentations from area writers, artists and musicians.

The event is being held in the Screening Room at the Warehouse Theater on Monday April 10 at 7:30PM. Admission is $3. The Warehouse Theater is located at 1017-1021 7th Street NW. Phone is 202 783 3933. For more info, visit http://www.warehousetheater.com/

The inaugural event will feature:

· Jeff Bagato (author of the guidebook “Mondo DC”) on Shooting Bettie Page
· Sarah Grace McCandless (author of the novel “Grosse Pointe Girl” and the forthcoming “The Girl I Wanted to Be”) reading new fiction
· T.M. Lowery (artist, creator of the Skeleton Kids) presenting new work
· Jason Linkins (aka the blogger DCeiver) and friends in a dramatic presentation of “The Taking Of The Orange Line 1-2-3”

The F.W. Thomas Performances will be hosted and introduced by yours truly, Adam Mazmanian, a writer living in D.C. and a contributor to the Washington City Paper, with special assistance from Katie Lederer, a government attorney and spiritual descendant of F. W. Thomas.

The series is named for F.W. Thomas (1811-1866), attorney, novelist, satirist, polemicist, journalist, government employee and a close friend of Edgar Allan Poe. It was Thomas who conceived the ill-fated plan to use his influence with the son of President Tyler to obtain for Poe a posting in the Philadelphia Customs House.

In 1841, Thomas was hired to create a library for the Treasury Department as a reward for his service on the stump for President William Henry Harrison. Despite the death of his political benefactor after fewer than 30 days in office, Thomas thrived in Washington, remaining here until 1850. Thomas enjoyed the simple pleasures of government service, which he described thusly in a letter to Poe: “You stroll to your office a little after nine in the morning leisurely, and you stroll from it a little after two in the afternoon homeward to dinner, and return no more that day. If during office hours you have anything to do it is an agreeable relaxation from the monstrous laziness of the day. You have on your desk everything in the writing line in apple-pie order, and if you choose to lucubrate in a literary way, why you can lucubrate.”

In so many ways, the career of F. W. Thomas captures the enterprising, creative spirit that abides in the District of Columbia to this day. It is unjust that his legacy pass unremembered into this mists of bureaucratic history.

The F.W. Thomas Performances owes a debt of inspiration to Brooklyn, New York’s now-legendary “Little Gray Books” readings series, hosted and curated by John Hodgman, the ‘resident expert’ on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” and author of the fake trivia compendium “The Areas of My Expertise.”

For more information on the F.W. Thomas Performances and/or the individual performers, please contact:

Adam Mazmanian
mazmanian at mindspring.com

Author: Rob Goodspeed